East Africa

Pope Francis visits Egypt to meet with top Muslim clerics 

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Cairo later this month (28 April) to ‘spread peace and tolerance’ in the troubled country which has seen widespread persecution of the Christian community.

The pope will meet with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and religious leaders in the country, the Egyptian government said.

“Egypt welcomes His Holiness Pope Francis on his first visit to Cairo and looks forward to this important visit, which will contribute to establishing peace and spreading the principles of tolerance and coexistence,”  Alaa Yousef, the presidential spokesman said.

On this visit, the Pope will meet with scholars from Al-Azhar, the world’s leading authority on Sunni Islam. Francis will also meet with Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb and participate in the international conference on peace organised by Al-Azhar.

Tawadros II the pope of the Coptic Church if Egypt will host Pope Francis in a prayer service for the victims of St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church bomb attacks in December last year which killed about 30 people, mostly women and children. The terror group, Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Francis will conclude his visit on the 29th April, with a catholic prayer service and a meet with the clergy of Egypt’s Catholic Church.

April 28 also coincides with the 70th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relationships between Egypt and the Vatican.