January 6, 2015, a date known as “Old Christmas” among the Amish, “Coptic Christmas” among Coptic Christians, and “Orthodox Christmas” among various orthodox Catholics, was also an historic date in 2015 for Egypt. For the very first time in history, the President of Egypt attended mass and wished a Merry Christmas to those in the religious minority of his country.
Especially profound because Muslims are forbidden from wishing members of other faiths “well” on their holy days, El-Sisi seems to be putting his stance for religious freedom in full public view. Those present in St. Mark Cathedral were beyond excited to see their recently elected leader in their church.
Congregants cheered for their President and chanted “we love you” and “hand in hand” which he repeated to the crowd. He is quoted as saying:
Egypt has brought a humanistic and civilizing message to the world for millennia and we are here today to confirm that we are capable of doing so again. Yes, a humanistic and civilizing message should once more emanate from Egypt. This is why we must not call ourselves anything other than “Egyptians.” This is what we must be — Egyptians, just Egyptians, Egyptians indeed! I just want to tell you that — Allah willing, Allah willing — we shall build our nation together, accommodate each other, make room for each other, and we shall like each other—love each other, love each other in earnest, so that people may see… So let me tell you once again, Happy New Year, Happy New Year to you all, Happy New Year to all Egyptians!
A profound message. One that the U.S. President has not offered in the wake of racial tension and the threat of terror in his own nation. In fact, Obama wanted the former Muslim Brotherhood pick, Morsi, to remain in office. Conspiracy theorists could go crazy wondering why given the accepting, modern tone taken by this President of the Egyptian people. Congratulations Egypt!
Written by Holly Rennels