TEL AVIV — Coptic Christians in Egypt celebrated Christmas on Sunday according to the Orthodox calendar with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi himself participating in prayers for the holiday in Cairo’s biggest cathedral.
In the shadow of calls from some Muslim religious figures not to offer blessings to Coptic Christians for Christmas, Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawki Allam declared that there is no ban on doing so.
In an interview with an Egyptian television station, the Egyptian mufti stated that the prophets were sent to be a source of mercy, love and peace for humanity: “The birth of the prophets is supposed to a joyful occasion to be celebrated in order to remember the message with which Allah sent them and through whom he sought to send values to humanity to correct it.”
Allam claimed that Allah addressed the birth of Jesus in the Quran in the verse, “So Peace on him the day he was born, the day that he dies and the day that he will be raised up to life.”
According to Allam, the fatwas, or religious rulings, intended to ban giving blessings to “our brothers the Christians are religious rulings that have no place in the current age. It’s forbidden to recognize them and they must be rejected. The Fatwa Council in Egypt and the Al Azhar institution believe that the Christians should be blessed on their holiday and that the blessing should be a divine commandment.”
Allam argued that religions were never meant to be a source of conflict between people.