Al Azhar urges Egyptian Muslims to join Coptic Christmas celebrations

The top Muslim scholar’s call comes following a deadly attack on a Cairo church

20:02 December 29, 2017
REG 170425 Al Azhar

Cairo: Grand Shaikh of Al Azhar Ahmad Al Tayyib on Friday urged Egyptian Muslims to join their Coptic compatriots in celebrating the Christmas.

The top Muslim cleric’s call was made after a deadly attack outside a Coptic church in Cairo.

“All Egyptian people are urged to stand firm against this evil conspiracy and make these good days an opportunity to emphasize this through Muslims’ joining their Coptic brethren in celebrating the anniversary of the Christ’s birth,” Al Tayyib said in a statement.

Coptic Christians celebrate the Christmas on January 7.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry said that nine people were killed on Friday in two attacks targeting a Coptic church and a shop in the working-class district of Helwan in south Cairo.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.

“The repetition of these sinister terrorist attacks, which target the Coptic brethren on days of feasts, has exposed aims. They target the homeland and its unity more than followers of this or that religion,” Al Tayyib added, who condemned Friday's attacks. “A painful response is to abort these goals by adhering more to spirit of love and affinity binding Muslims and Christians.”

Al Azhar is Sunni Islam’s prestigious seat of learning.

Friday’s attacks come more than a month after suspected extremists killed 310 people in an attack on a mosque in North Sinai, the deadliest in Egypt’s modern history.