Article summary:

On a trip to the village of Qufada in Upper Egypt, Intern Jonathan Vink became fascinated with the art of tattooing, which has a rich heritage within the Coptic demonination population of Egypt. This article is a product of his curiousity on the subject, which is also published with Egypt Today. 

21. A Western-Islamic Account on Spirituality, Ramadan, and interfaith reconciliation

The relationship between expatriates living in Egypt and Ramadan can be a love-hate relationship. Some might argue that Ramadan is the ‘most unproductive month of the year’. People work less hours and businesses can get a bit slow. On the other hand, however, very few can deny the level of contagiousness of spirituality in Ramadan. Thousands upon thousands flood the streets and mosques, praying for God’s mercy and blessings. One can hear the Qur’an at every corner of the country and solidarity and compassion between people is unmatched in any other time of the year.

20. Basic Facts about Ramadan

The month of July is to be the month of Ramadan this year. At the time of writing this article, it was expected that the beginning of Ramadan will be the 29th of June, this is a presumption based on astrological knowledge. The real beginning will be announced in every country by the “ro’ya”, i.e. to look and see  if the new moon is visible or not. The period of the moon defines the beginning of every month and so the year of the Western calendar includes 10 days more than the Islamic calendar. For this reason, Ramadan begins each year, 10 days before last years Ramadan and the feast at the end of the month, the “eid al fitr” will start on the 28th or 29th July.

19. Ramadan as intercultural, interfaith experience

This summer will mark my third Ramadan spent in Egypt since I began traveling to the country in January 2011.  My first experience of an Egyptian Ramadan in the summer of 2011 remains particularly memorable, both as a cultural and personal experience.

18. Studying Arabic in Cairo

As a student who signed up to study Arabic in the autumn of 2010, I looked forward to the third year of my degree (abroad in an Arabic-speaking country) with a lot of excitement – there were so many options to choose from. I had organised a three-month teaching placement in Muscat, Oman to begin in January. I flew out on the 14th January, 2011, – the same day Tunisian president, Zine Ben Ali was deposed. Those first three months became the Arab Spring, and as protests continued, in some cases toppling governments, I contemplated a year in an Arab world much changed from the one I had expected. 

5. Meeting with Pope Tawadros II, the Holy Week and Easter
 
Dr. Enan Galaly, having the Knight of Dannebrog title bestowed by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Ambassador of Historical Relations between Denmark and the Middle East and chairman of the Advisory Council for the International Association of University Presidents worldwide, and Cornelis Hulsman, Editor-in-chief of Arab-West Report, were blessed on March 5 by Pope Tawadros II. The meeting was about the importance of the route of the Holy Family in Egypt. Egypt was blessed by the Holy Family, the pope said, and so are visits to locations that were blessed by the Holy Family. The pope is in contact with the Ministry of Tourism about efforts to promote pilgrimage. Read more here.
 
Arab-West Report uses this occasion to congratulate our Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christian friends with Easter.
 
 
 

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It is, unfortunately, not uncommon for people to make efforts to discredit their opponents with distortions and lies. It becomes even more questionable if people who make false claims want to remain anonymous. The author must be someone who knows several things about me. That makes an anonymous response even more cowardly. Only in February this year I was alerted that I was attacked on the website www.mobtada.com. I responded in a letter on February 8 (see below). I had expected that the author of the attack on me would respond but he preferred not to and remains anonymous. This is of course very weak.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazine initially wanted to interview a Catholic Christian family in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minia about their preparations for Christmas in November 2013. Tensions were still running deep in Egypt after extremists had destroyed tens of churches in Egypt, including many in Minia. The Catholic Bishop of Minia, however, agreed to help find a family. A family was identified, but shortly before journalist Michael Obert and photographer Andy Spyra came to Egypt, the family decided to cancel any meeting for fear of rumors that could follow the visit of foreigners to their area. Their fear was certainly justified. Rumors, deliberately created or not, can cause a lot of harm.

In its dispatch no. 5657 MEMRI focuses on the mutual accusations between supporters of the current regime and the Muslim Brotherhood. “Each camp accuses members of the other camp of being Jewish and of implementing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The MEMRI report is full of examples from both camps with photos and cartoons. 

The claims and articles are part of the de-legitimization campaign in which both camps are involved. It is sad that both camps are engaging in such outrageous campaigns, but the value of this should not be overstated. 

Raymond Ibrahim, author of “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians,” is blatantly anti-Muslim in his writings. He is doing ‘well’ in creating fear for Muslims. 

Ibrahim interprets all violence of Muslims against Christians as something that is motivated through Islam as religion. The problem is in his generalizations. It is simply not true that all violence of Muslims against non-Muslims has a religious motivation but each time Ibrahim finds such violence he claims it to be motivated by Islam, while I have found through my work for Arab-West Report that violence is often related to many other factors such as the weak rule of law in Egypt.

On Friday, November 29, an article appeared in al-Fath, an independent Salafī newspaper, written by reporters Tāriq Bahgat and Walīd Mansūr. [1] The article reports on the discussion that took place between Bishop Bola, the representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the Constituent Assembly, and Al-Azhar scholars about the articles relating to Al-Azhar in the Constitution as well as the so-called “identity articles”, which pertain to the interpretation of Islamic sharī’ah in the new constitution and the role of Al-Azhar. Whereas the Nūr Party representatives sought to impose a stricter interpretation of shar’īah and include it in the draft together with a stronger role for Al-Azhar, the representatives of the Churches refused that. [2] The discussion escalated to the point that Bishop Bola threatened to withdraw from the Constituent Assembly. [3] The article expresses polemic views against Bishop Bola and against the Church’s position of the aforementioned articles.

 

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Newsclippings from International Sources

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Somali troops with the support of the Ethiopian army have seized key areas in Bay, government officials in southern Somalia announced yesterday, after months of operations centered on the town of Bardale.

The still ongoing campaign, described as "a cleanup operation," led to the recent capture of Iskoris, Morowarabe, and Walaq villages, according to Bardale mayor Mohamed Isaq Arro As.

Shabaab fighters escaped in the night as an overwhelming number of troops supported by tanks marched into the area without meeting any resistance.

According to AMISOM spokesman Colonel Ali Adan Humad, AMISOM and Somali troops are in final preparation for offensives against Shabaab in southern and central Somalia.

Shabaab fighters controlled much of Bay region for three years between 2009 and 2012, until Ethiopian forces pushed them out. The increased operations in the area began after Shabaab set up roadblocks on Oct. 19 in an attempt to punish regions in which it had lost control. Shabaab told locals that it "did not want any food to be taken to the people, who are living with infidels," alluding to the Somali and Ethiopian troops in the area. Earlier this month, on Dec. 13, Somali and Ethiopian troops cleared the roadblocks when hundreds of troops marched on the region, causing Shabaab militants to flee.

On Dec. 19, clashes took place in the district of Uforow, where according to eyewitnesses at least two people were killed and at least three Shabaab fighters were wounded in a firefight with government forces. No civilians are thought to have been harmed in the fighting, although Shabaab still controls the Bay region districts of Uforow and Dinsor as well as parts of Bardale.

Bardale was the location of "Ambush at Bardale," one of the most well-known videos featuring Omar Hammami, which was released by the group in March 2009 and documented Hammami and other Shabaab militants preparing for and executing an ambush on Ethiopian troops. The recruitment video also included an appeal from another English speaker to would-be jihadists to join the fight in Somalia, and was later determined to feature Somali-Americans, including Shirwa Ahmed.

Despite a military offensive led by the African Union and backed by the US that began in 2011, Shabaab still controls vast areas of southern and central Somalia. During the offensive, Shabaab was driven from major cities and towns such as Mogadishu, Kismayo, and Baidoa, but towns such as Bulobarde and Barawe remain under the terror group's control. The group has weathered the Ethiopian invasion, which began in December 2006 and ousted its predecessor, the Islamic Courts Union. More than six years later, Shabaab remains a capable force in southern Somalia and an integral part of al Qaeda's global network.

Ansar al Sharia Tunisia denies emir was captured by US forces in Libya

Posted: 30 Dec 2013 11:39 AM PST

Earlier today, media outlets in North Africa reported that Seifallah ben Hassine (also known as Abu Iyad al Tunisi), the emir of Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, was captured during a combined US and Libyan raid in the city of Misrata. Below is an example from Tunis Afrique Presse:

Abu Iyad whose real name is Seifallah Ben Hussein Mokni, leader of Ansar al Sharia group listed as a "terrorist organisation" was captured, on Monday morning in Libya, authorised security source said.

US special forces captured Abu Iyad and other several persons accompanying him, with the assistance of Libyan forces and Libyan citizens, the same source said. Abu Iyad was captured in the town of Misrata, Libya.

Interim PM Ali Larayedh confirmed last August 27 the organisation's involvement in terrorist acts and in political assassination in Tunisia, listing it as a "terrorist organisation".

However, Ansar al Sharia Tunisia released a statement denying that ben Hassine was captured. The statement was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group. SITE's summary of the statement is below:

Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia denied the capture of its leader, Abu Iyad al Tunisi, by U.S. and Libyan forces in the Libyan city of Misrata. In a statement posted on its Twitter account on December 30, 2013, the group charged that the "lying media" deliberated invented the story of Abu Iyad's capture in order to push Salafist youth into a physical response. It added: "Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia takes the hands of its youth in particular, and the youth of the Salafist current in general, to be careful with themselves from such rumors, the publishers of which cannot be sated or refreshed in their market without lying and falsifying. Evil indeed is that which they shall bear!"

Update:

The US denied that it captured Abu Iyad. From Reuters:

"U.S. forces were not involved in any operations regarding Ansar Al Sharia leader Abou Iyadh today in Libya," a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command said.

...

U.S. security officials told Reuters that U.S. intelligence agencies and their personnel also were not involved in any operation against Abu Iyad.

Suicide bomber strikes again in southern Russia


 

Aftermath of the suicide attack on a bus in Volgograd. Image from RIA Novosti.


The southern Russian city of Volgograd has suffered its second suicide attack targeting public transportation in two days. Yesterday's blast took place at the city's train station, and today, a suicide bomber destroyed a trolley in the city. Both attacks are likely to have been carried out by the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, an al Qaeda-allied group whose leader has ordered his fighters to attack the 2014 Winter Olympics in nearby Sochi.

Today's suicide attack was designed to maximize casualties; the blast took place on a trolley at around 8 a.m. local time, as residents were commuting to work. The suicide bomber, who is believed to be a male, detonated the "equivalent to at least 4 kg TNT" on the crowded trolley, ITAR-TASS reported.

The blast demolished the trolley, peeling off the roof and sides. Reports indicate that at least 15 people were killed and 27 more were wounded; some of the wounded are in critical condition.

Today's terrorist attack took place just one day after a female suicide bomber, or Black Widow, killed 17 people and wounded dozens more in a suicide attack at the main train station in Volgograd. Yesterday's attack is thought to have been carried out by a woman who had been married to known jihadists from the Islamic Caucasus Emirate.

While no group has claimed credit for the last two attacks, they were most certainly carried out by the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, which seeks to establish an Islamic state in southern Russia. The Islamic Caucasus Emirate claims that Volgograd "is located in the northern part of the Islamic state of the Caucasus Emirate," according to Kavkaz Center, which distributes propaganda for the terror group.

The Islamic Caucasus Emirate is the only group operating in southern Russia known to use suicide bombers, and its Riyad-us-Saliheen Brigade has trained females for suicide missions. The terror group has announced that it seeks to disrupt the 2014 Winter Olympics slated for February in Sochi.

In July this year, Islamic Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov issued a statement calling for further attacks aimed at disrupting Russia's plans for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, according to Kavkaz Center. He stated: "We know that on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many Muslims who died and are buried on our territory along the Black Sea, today they plan to stage the Olympic Games. We, as the Mujahedeen, must not allow this to happen by any means possible."

In that statement, Umarov also declared that the Islamic Caucasus Emirate is allied with al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups.

"We are a part of the global jihad," he said.

The Islamic Caucasus Emirate appears to be targeting public transportation in Volgograd in order to sow panic and deter visitors from traveling to the region for the Olympics. On Oct. 21, another Black Widow detonated explosives on a bus at a train station in Volgograd. That attack was carried out by a Dagestani woman named Naida Asiyalova. She was married to a jihadist who was wanted for executing bombings in the Caucasus. [See LWJ report, Suspected 'Black Widow' suicide bomber kills 6 in southern Russia.]

The blast on the bus today sparked panic in Volgograd and as far away as Moscow as rumors of other bombings circulated. In Volgograd, some commuters left buses and trains after rumors of other attacks in the city were reported on social media sites, according to RIA Novosti.


For more information on the Islamic Caucasus Emirate's use of female suicide bombers in its operations in Russia, see LWJ report, 'Black Widow' suicide bomber strikes at Russian train station.

Suspected car bomb wounds 4 Egyptian soldiers in Sharkiya

At least four Egyptian security personnel were injured today in an attack outside a military intelligence building in Anshas in the Sharkiya governorate. In a statement released to Facebook, Egypt's army spokesman said the attack destroyed part of the building's back wall.

While not definitive, multiple reports indicate that the explosion was likely the result of a car bomb. "The blast is believed to have been caused by a car laden with explosives detonating near the intelligence building," Al Ahram reported. In a separate report, based on comments from a security official, Al Ahram stated that the "blast resulted from a remotely-detonated explosive device planted inside a privately-owned Hyundai Verna car." Security sources told the Associated Press that the remains of a vehicle were found near the building.

Hours after the attack, state-run MENA reported that authorities had managed to arrest "a person suspected of involvement."

Thus far, the attack has gone unclaimed. It came five days after an Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) suicide car bombing attack outside the Daqahliya security directorate in Mansoura killed more than a dozen people and injured over 130 more. Two days later, on Dec. 26, a bomb exploded on a bus near Cairo, injuring at least five people.

In its claim of responsibility for the Mansoura attack, Ansar Jerusalem said it would continue to fight and reiterated its warning for Egyptian Muslims to stay away from buildings associated with the security forces. The group, which has issued such warnings since at least September, stated in an Oct. 21 communique that police and military headquarters "are legitimate targets for the mujahideen."

Today authorities also reportedly defused a bomb near al Azhar University's Faculty of Medicine in Damietta as well as an explosive device near a school in el Arish.

Since July 3, there have been more than 260 reported attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, most of which were carried out against Egyptian security forces and assets, according to data maintained by The Long War Journal. A good number of these attacks, including the Nov. 20 car bombing that killed 11 Egyptian security personnel, have been claimed by Ansar Jerusalem.

Attacks by Sinai-based jihadists, Ansar Jerusalem specifically, have also taken place in the Egyptian mainland. On Sept. 5, the jihadist group used a suicide car bomber in an assassination attempt in Nasr City on Egypt's interior minister, Mohammed Ibrahim. A month later, an Ansar Jerusalem suicide bomber unleashed a blast at the South Sinai Security Directorate in el Tor, which killed three security personnel and injured more than 45. On Oct. 19, the Sinai-based jihadist group targeted a military intelligence building in the city of Ismailia in another car bombing. And on Nov. 19, the group claimed responsibility for the shooting attack on Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Mabrouk, a senior national security officer, in Cairo.

The al Furqan Brigades, which are not believed to be based in the Sinai, have also claimed responsibility for a number of shootings and rocket attacks in the Egyptian mainland since the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi in early July. In contrast to Ansar Jerusalem, the group has yet to claim responsibility for any large car or suicide bombings.

Ansar Jerusalem, which was founded by Egyptians, is the dominant jihadist group operating in the Sinai Peninsula today. The group releases material through the jihadist forums of Al Fajr Media Center, al Qaeda's exclusive media distribution outlet, and Ansar Jerusalem fighters are often seen with the al Qaeda flag. Over the past two years, Ansar Jerusalem has claimed credit for a number of attacks against Israel and Egypt.

In September 2013, Ansar Jerusalem declared that "it is obligatory to repulse them [the Egyptian army] and fight them until the command of Allah is fulfilled." Recent reports in the Egyptian media have suggested that Ansar Jerusalem may have links to Muhammad Jamal and the Muhammad Jamal Network [MJN], which were added to the US government's list of designated terrorists and the UN's sanctions list in October 2013.

Jamal, whose fighters have been linked to the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi terror attack, is said to have established "several terrorist training camps in Egypt and Libya" with funding from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

In late November, in response to a Long War Journal query on whether the State Department believes there is a connection between the Muhammad Jamal Network (MJN) and Ansar Bayt al Maqdis, a State Department spokesman said: "We have no comment on the inter-relationships between MJN and the other Sinai groups."

During his first month in office, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a number of economic decisions, which had long been avoided by his predecessors for fear of their social and political implications. He thus rejected the austerity budget submitted by the cabinet and returned it instead to the Ministry of Finance so it may add more austerity measures meant to bring the budgetary deficit down to around 250 billion Egyptian pounds.

This resulted in changes on both the expenses and revenues sides. On the one hand, fuel prices were raised for the first time since 2007 as per the government’s plan to reduce energy subsidies by 41 billion pounds in the current financial year. On the other hand, Al-Sisi also issued a law amending articles and provisions of the tax code, and applying a 10 percent tax on stock market proceeds as well as a temporary 5 percent tax for the next three years on incomes that exceed one million Egyptian pounds a year. This takes place amidst news that work is underway on new fiscal legislation targeting property and value added taxes. 

Judging by the fast pace of these decisions, it seems that financial restructuring in Egypt has become a matter of urgency which can no longer be postponed.The issue at stake now is how to adopt actions and decisions – not widely popular, naturally- at the lowest political and security cost. This can only be achieved by investing early on in Al-Sisi’s popularity and by calling on all Egyptians, via a nationalist discourse, to share the cost of austerity measures meant to cut public spending and increase taxes.

 

The Egyptian government's current economic plan is founded on two scenarios. The first scenario seeks to reduce the deficit by cutting expenses and increasing revenues, in order to treat the long legacy of imbalances inherited from the Mubarak regime, which had relied, since the end of the 1990s, on an unprecedented expansion of domestic debt to finance its growing deficit. The economic team—at the Ministry of Finance primarily—believes that pursuing Mubarak’s policy is no longer possible, especially at a time when the public deficit and debt have reached alarming levels as a result of the economic slowdown and the declining growth rates which followed the January 2011 revolution.

The second scenario intends, on the other hand, to channel the capital inflows expected from Gulf countries, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia in particular (which were previously used to finance the budget deficit through billions spent mainly on fuel subsidies) towards investments capable of re-launching the economy, as well as generating higher growth and employment rates.  This is in line with the government’s policy aiming to reduce public deficit and redirecting bank credits towards the private sector. This move is needed after the Egyptian government, in its attempts to finance the budget deficit, became the banking sector’s largest borrower in the past few years. The government's economic team believes that combining austerity measures and investing Gulf funds will achieve two rather conflicting goals, namely restoring growth through reforming the structural imbalances of state finances and regaining the confidence of both local and foreign investors. 

The economic team argues that in order to fix the structural imbalances of the Egyptian budget, there is a need to increase revenues and reduce spending. There is also a need to embark on a restructuring process, which should extend over the next five years. This article focuses on the revenue side. It reviews decisions already adopted as well as future plans expected to impose profit taxes on capital and property holders and expand the tax base. It is worth noting that the total contribution of privately-owned companies in state revenues, through taxes on industrial, commercial and capital gains, did not exceed 7 percent between 2008 and 2012. Needless to say, this very small percentage does not reflect the true share of these companies in the gross domestic product (GDP). Rather, it reflects broad tax evasion amongst small and medium enterprises and wide tax exemptions and government incentives amongst large companies. This situation will not be sustainable if the government has serious plans to increase revenues. The same applies to property taxes, which did not exceed an average of 2.9 percent of the total revenue of the state during the same period.  This leaves no room for doubt that major investments in real estate over the past two decades have escaped all taxation. Such investments were the result of wealth accumulation amongst the top the middle class in Egypt, which has profited from a steady growth in income since the beginning of the twenty first century.

In fact, the share of state revenues in the GDP have registered a decline since the early nineties, when the state lost the institutional, political and administrative capacity to target the sources of wealth it no longer under controlled or owned amidst a speeding economic liberalization. This led to excessive reliance on non-tax revenues from the Suez Canal as well as from oil and gas sales, for instance, and on indirect taxes. At the same time, the government was unable to increase revenues from direct taxes on income and wealth. All this eventually led to a severe chronic fiscal crisis that reached its peak in the past three years. 

It has also shaped the pattern of the relationship between the state and capital and property holding groups based on a mutual agreement to overlook what the other party was doing. The state, thus, overlooks the wealth accumulated by these capital and property owners and, in its turn, this class turns a blind eye to the deterioration of public services due to lack of funds, and accepts to rely instead on private health care and education. However, this situation is no longer viable. This is largely driven by the deep financial crisis facing the state, the urgent need to increase tax revenues with the decline of foreign aid, and the high political cost of reliance on indirect taxes that do not distinguish between taxpayers on the basis of their income. The real question now relates to the long-term political and social impact of such short-term fiscal measures. In other terms, how will the capital and property holders deal with the Egyptian’s state growing desire to impose more taxes on their wealth? And will they demand more political representation in exchange for the money they pay?

This article was originally published in Arabic by Al Shorouk.

Met with President Abdel Fattah Sisi, this morning at the presidential headquarters in Heliopolis, Pope Twadaros Second, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, where it was during the meeting, they reviewed regard the Egyptian public and a number of concerns Christianity; noted the President to the role of the National Christians since the beginning of the Egyptian revolution, those National, which has long characterized the Copts of Egypt, pointing out that the concerns of Christians will be of interest to the Egyptian state, and stressing the faith of the state and its commitment to be the freedom of belief and worship are guaranteed to all citizens. 

President SiSi stressed the importance of keeping abreast with the state’s efforts, the efforts of a community to fix what has been spoil the relationship between the elements of the nation because of the interpretations of false and visions distorted.

Also met with the President, in the presence of His Holiness Pope Twadaros second, heads and representatives of Christian denominations in Egypt, where he participated in the meeting, each of the patriarch Abraham Sedrak, head of the Catholic Coptic community, and the Rev. Dr. / Safwat Bayadi, President of the evangelical community, and Bishop Kriakour Kusa, head of the sect Armenian Catholics, Patriarch / Theadorjs II, head of the Greek Orthodox community, and Bishop / George Baker, head of the Roman Catholic, and Bishop / Joseph Hannoush, head of the sect Syrian Catholic, and Bishop / George Shihan, head of the sect Maronite Catholics, Bishop / Philip star, Chairman range Chaldean Catholics, Bishop / Adel Zaki, head of the range of the Latin Catholics, and Pastor / Kelion Fenosa, head of the sect Adventists “Seventh-day Adventists,” and the father / Gabriel, vice president of a wide Armenian Orthodox, and Pastor / Sami Fawzi, representative of the Episcopal Church, and engineer / Fouad Michel Saheb, Vice-President of the range Syriac Orthodox. 

Said Ambassador Ihab Badawi, official spokesman of the Presidency of the Republic, that the president has emphasized during the meeting on the values of unity and brotherhood among all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, stressing that what is going through The reality Regional is irrefutable proof of the importance that fortify ourselves as Egyptians building material and moral and humane in very strong, protects our society from any attempts to divide and differentiate between his sons, who all lived as one unit for thousands of years. 

He was also keen heads and representatives of Christian denominations, non-Egyptian to offer thanks to the President on Egypt’s hosting them and their churches; stressed President that this is the spirit of Islam tolerant real, which calls for peaceful coexistence and acceptance of others, and also to the understanding and cooperation, stressing that Egypt welcomes them always and appreciate the importance of difference and diversity as a year of life, and added sovereignty that Egypt was and will remain an oasis of security, stability and love for all religions. 

Badawi added that the president has repeatedly stressed the importance of correct religious discourse, especially in light of the seriousness of the use of religion as a weapon to attract elements that can be attracted to extremist groups, something which is incompatible with the sanctity of religions and tolerance. 

The noted presence to the role of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif in the spread of the values of moderation moderate to counter attempts to distort the image of Islam by extremists and terrorists. At the domestic affairs of Egypt, the President stated that the preparation and preparation is underway for the completion of the parliamentary elections, pointing to the importance of the next parliament, under the powers expanded, which would have enjoyed new Council of Representatives, according to the Egyptian Constitution, which was approved in January 2014, also called on everyone to participate, stressing the importance of auditing and a good selection of people’s deputies, who will carry the honor and the Secretariat of the representation of the Egyptian people, as well as the daunting task in the naughty work of the parliament of control and legislation. 

At the end of the meeting , received the President a book about Armenians in Egypt range from vice president of the Armenian Orthodox, who noted the history of the Armenians, and they have suffered from human suffering, pointing out that the hospitality and reception Egypt contributed to a range of Armenians in correcting the image of Islam in the Armenian mentality.

 Mr. President also stressed the keenness of the Egyptian state to ensure freedom of worship for Christians brothers, noting that it is one of the constants of faith of Islam, which exhorted the religious tolerance and constructive cooperation for the benefit of building land.

The Arabic republic of Egypt Draft Constitution 2013. 

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Pope Theodoros II is scheduled to meet with UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, and to lead mass in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI – The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Theodoros II, has hailed the UAE’s stand under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in backing the Egyptian people after the June 30 revolution.
Pope Theodoros II, who arrived at the Royal Jet Abu Dhabi airport on Friday and was received by Dr Sultan Al Jabir, Minister of State, stressed that his visit to the UAE projects the fondness between the people of the two countries.
Theodoros II, who travelled on a special presidential plane, will be in the UAE for five days.
It is his first visit to the Gulf state since he became head of the church in November 2012.
He said that Sheikh Khalifa is walking the same road and with the same values as the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Ehab Imam Hamouda, the Egyptian Ambassador in the UAE, said that the visit carries many messages, on top of which is giving thanks to the leadership of the UAE and its people on the historical position of the UAE in supporting Egypt as it moves towards prosperity, security and stability.
On Friday, Pope Theodoros II visited Sheikh Zayed mosque and tomb in Abu Dhabi. He is scheduled to meet with UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, and to lead mass on Saturday in the same city.
According to official sources, Christians make up around 10 percent of the population of the UAE.
The Gulf state has been a key backer of Egypt’s transitional authorities