The collective 'mission' of a large group of imams linked to al Azhar - the biggest theological centre of Sunni Islam - and Coptic priests began yesterday in the Egyptian province of Minya. The imams and priests are visiting schools together throughout the province. They are meeting students and organising conferences and debates, with the intention of building a culture of encounter and peace as the basis of peaceful social and religious coexistence.
The initiative, supported by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyeb and Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II, aims to strengthen the fabric of national solidarity and to promote mutual tolerance based on shared values, starting with compassion and solidarity towards fellow citizens in need.
Anba Botros Fahim Awad Hanna, Coptic Catholic Archbishop of Minya said: "The meetings are being held under the auspices of the 'House of the Egyptian family', the inter-religious body created years ago by the Great Imam of Al Azhar and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch. The body has been revitalized in recent times as a tool to prevent and mitigate sectarian conflicts, in a time when the upsurge of sectarianism fundamentalist seems to endanger national unity. In all there are 40 Imams and priests, and all serve in our region."
A similar initiative already took place a few weeks ago in some schools in Cairo.
The organisers hope to bring the program to other parts of Egypt in the near future.
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