SHAFAQNA – Islamic authorities in Egypt have condemned the jihadist violence that has seen Coptic Christians flee the terror of ISIS in northern Egypt.
An Islamic group known as the House of Fatwa (Dar al Ifta al Misryah) has decried the recent murders of Christians by radical Muslims, Aleteia reports.
The ultra-conservative Islamic Salafi party Al-Nur also condemened the terror attacks, emphasising that ISIS’ actions ‘go against the teachings of Islam’.
Today, Egypt’s leading Muslim and Christian clerics gathered for a conference in Cairo to promote peaceful coexistence between the religious groups, according to Arab News. The ‘Freedom and Citizenship’ conference is organised by Sunni Islam’s most prominent university, Al-Azhar.
Addressing the jihadist violence across the country, Al-Azhar’s head Sheikh Ahmed Tayeb said: ‘Exonerating religions from terrorism no longer suffices in the face of these barbaric challenges.’ Teyeb called for an end to ‘the lingering mistrust and tensions between religious leaders that are no longer justified, for if there is no peace between the proponents of religions first, the proponents cannot give it to the people’.
Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II emphasised that ISIS’ terrorism represented a ‘mistaken understanding of religion’ and called for ‘fighting extremist thought with enlightened thought’.
Egypt is a majority Sunni Muslim country, with Christians – mostly Orthodox Copts – representing about 10 per cent of the population.
Attacks have escalated in recent weeks following the release of an ISIS video which incited fellow jihadists to target the ‘infidel’ Christian community. Hundreds have now fled from El-Arish in Sinai, Northern Egypt, and as Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, told Christian Today, specific lists of Christian targets have been circulated among militants.
Yesterday Angaelos noted 40 Christians have been murdered by ISIS in the last three months, with many forced to flee with the stark ultimatum: ‘leave or die’.