No risk for pope in Egypt - al-Azhar

Francis will be welcome says advisor

10 April, 18:30

    Pope Francis during a meeting with Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad al-Tayyib, Egyptian Imam of al-Azhar Pope Francis during a meeting with Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad al-Tayyib, Egyptian Imam of al-Azhar

     - Cairo - Ambassador Kadri Abdelmottale, protocol advisor to the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, said Monday that Pope Francis will be safe during his visit to Egypt on April 28 and 29. "I can guarantee that there won't be any security problems," Abdelmottale told ANSA after Sunday's bomb attacks on two Coptic churches left at least 44 dead. "The pope will be enormously welcome in our country. He will be totally safe".

    The pope is set to meet the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, considered one of Sunni Islam's most senior figures, on the first day of the two-day visit.

    Immediately afterwards the pope and the grand imam, currently Ahmed el-Tayeb, will give speeches to participants in an international peace conference.

    The Grand Imam of al-Azhar, currently Ahmed el-Tayeb, is one of Sunni Islam's most senior figures.

    The Vatican has said the Palm Sunday attacks, which extremist Islamist group ISIS has claimed responsibility for, will not affect the trip. "It was an attack on dialogue, on peace," Monsignor Angelo Becciu, the Vatican's Substitute for General Affairs in the Secretariat of State, said in an interview in Monday's Corriere della Sera.

    "I also think it was an indirect message to those who govern the country and against the Christian minority which, in recent times, has found more liberty. "There is no doubt that the Holy Father will maintain his resolution to go. "What happened caused dismay and great suffering, but it cannot stop the pope's mission of peace taking place".

    Monsignor Nunzio Galantino, the secretary general of Italian bishops conference CEI, said Monday pressing ahead with the visit to Egypt was "the best way to combine concrete support with the words of prayer".

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