CAIRO: Newly appointed intelligence chief Khaled Fawzy and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited the Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo’s Abasseya neighborhood to meet with Pope Tawadros on the occasion of the Christmas Mass Wednesday, Youm7 reported.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi also attended the Cathedral’s celebrations during in a surprise visit Tuesday that has been jubilantly received my Christians and Muslims alike, especially that he is the first Egyptian president to show this kind of gesture since Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Fawzy, who was previously the head of the National Security Department for National Intelligence, succeeded General Mohamed Farid al-Tohamy in December, with “health issues” officially cited as the reason for the replacement. Tohamy had held the post of intelligence chief since July 2013.
Sisi’s short speech at the Cathedral was interrupted with a lot of applause and cheers. He emphasized that no Egyptian should be labeled with a hyphen to indicate his religion.
“Over thousands of years, Egypt has taught humanity and [the concept of] civilization to the entire world…It is very important that the world sees us, Egyptians. You may notice that I only say the word Egyptians. No one should label someone else something else, we are the Egyptians,” Sisi said.
“God willing, we will build our country together,” he added.
On the New Year Eve of 2011, at least 21 people were killed in a bombing at a church in Alexandria, which led to several protests by Copts a few weeks before the January 25 Revolution.