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CAIRO, EGYPT - Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, also a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, joined fellow commissioners Nadine Maenza and Johnnie Moore as a part of a delegation of evangelical leaders at last night’s inauguration of the Cathedral of Nativity outside of Cairo. At the invitation of the Egyptian government and the Coptic Church, the delegation attended the opening of both the Cathedral, which is the largest in the Middle East, and the Al-Fattah Al- Aleem mosque, both in the new administrative capital east of Cairo.
The trip included several meetings with religious and governmental leaders including Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, the head of the Coptic Church.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
“It was an honor to join Pope Tawadros and the Coptic believers last night for their Christmas Eve service in their new cathedral constructed by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and the Egyptian government. Looking through the prism of religious freedom, it is very encouraging to see the deliberate steps President Sisi is taking to foster an environment in Egypt and the Middle East of greater religious understanding and tolerance,” Perkins said.
“The meetings with various religious leaders were informative and helpful in gauging Egypt’s progress toward greater religious freedom. In the more metropolitan areas, there is a strong consensus that religious conditions have improved significantly under the current policies that President Sisi has advanced. We repeatedly heard that the most significant challenges now are not with the government, but with the culture which has historically not been tolerant of religious minorities. I am hopeful with encouragement from the Trump administration that we will see additional changes that will help shift the culture towards more religious freedom,” Perkins added.
“While Egypt is facing significant challenges on several fronts, fostering an environment of religious understanding and acceptance between Muslims and religious minorities is very important in securing other human rights along with social and economic stability. I had the opportunity during last night’s festivities to encourage President Sisi in these positive steps,” Perkins concluded.