Christians, Muslims join hands against terror in Egypt

Egypt's Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayeb (L) delivers a speech during a conference titled 'íFreedom and citizenshipíí hosted by Al-Azhar, one of the leading Sunni Muslim authorities based in Cairo, on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 01 March 2017
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Christians, Muslims join hands against terror in Egypt

CAIRO: Top Muslim and Christian clerics from the Middle East gathered in Cairo on Tuesday for a two-day conference on promoting coexistence as sectarian conflict continues to ravage the region.
The “Freedom and Citizenship” conference is hosted by Al-Azhar, one of the leading Islamic seat of learning. It comes as Coptic Christians in Egypt’s Sinai flee attacks by Daesh group who is waging an insurgency in the peninsula.
“Exonerating religions from terrorism no longer suffices in the face of these barbaric challenges,” Al-Azhar’s head Sheikh Ahmed Tayeb said in a speech on the opening day, referring to regional conflicts.
Tayeb called for dispelling “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 called for “fighting extremist thought with enlightened thought.”
He said: “Egypt and the region have suffered from extremist thought resulting from a mistaken understanding of religion that has led to terrorism.”
Meanwhile, police arrested 22 people after hundreds went on a rampage in Egypt’s coastal city of Port Said to protest death sentences for 10 residents for their part in a deadly 2012 soccer riot.
The officials say protesters set tires ablaze, torched two police cars and pelted policemen with rocks on Monday night in the Mediterranean city’s low-income residential area of Fatimah Al-Zahraa.


Hamas backs new Egyptian bid for Palestinian unity

Updated 4 min 49 sec ago
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Hamas backs new Egyptian bid for Palestinian unity

GAZA: The head of Gaza’s rulers Hamas has announced his backing for a new Egyptian-led push for reconciliation with the rival Palestinian faction Fatah.
The office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said he had spoken with Egypt’s intelligence head Abbas Kamel to inform him of his movement’s backing for a fresh Egyptian-brokered push.
A statement from the movement said the two men discussed the “latest developments in the Palestinian issue and especially the reconciliation file and humanitarian projects for the people of the Gaza Strip.”
Haniyeh’s deputy Saleh Al-Arouri led a delegation to Cairo last week. So far Fatah has not officially responded to this fresh push for reconciliation.
A previous Egyptian-brokered deal, signed by Hamas and Fatah in October 2017, collapsed on implementation.
In March, the head of the Fatah-dominated West Bank government survived a roadside bomb hitting his convoy in a rare visit to Gaza, with his allies later accusing Hamas of planning the attack. It was hoped that reconciliation could alleviate humanitarian suffering in Gaza, home to some two million people.
The US has signaled its support for a fresh reconciliation push, but diplomats have little optimism.
Hamas won 2006 parliamentary elections but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah and much of the international community refused to accept the result, leading to increased strife.
A year later, Hamas violently seized control of Gaza. Since then two separate Palestinian civil administrations emerged.