Awqaf minister willing to visit Al-Aqsa

Attending the Coptic festival of St. Dimyana, the 4th century founder of female monasticism, Minister of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) Hamdi Zaqzouq said that the mistreatment of Coptic Christians in Egypt was “unacceptable.”

He added that places of worship were intended to “promote love among people” and not to incite religious rivalries.

Zaqzouq went on to say that he was willing to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem with an Israeli travel visa. But he qualified the statement, noting, “This doesn’t mean I support normalizing relations with Israel.”

The minister has been criticized in the past for urging Muslims to visit Jerusalem, which critics consider a recognition of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. “On the contrary, I see it as an assertion of our right to visit our holy sites,” said Zaqzouq.

The minister also lashed out at religious satellite channels for “misleading” the public.

“These channels incite sectarian strife between Muslims and Copts,” he said. “We have no control over these channels, and the preachers they feature aren’t registered with the ministry.”

On a proposed law governing places of worship, including both mosques and churches, the minister said: “I haven’t seen it yet, but I will vote for it if it guarantees the freedom to build churches without undue complications.”

Coptic Bishop Bishoi welcomed Zaqzouq to the festival. “I’m happy to see our Muslim brothers attend this celebration every year,” Bishoi said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

Related Articles

Back to top button