President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called Tuesday on religious preachers to increase efforts to defend Islam and correct the “flawed image” of the religion due to violence and terrorism.
He also praised the role of Al-Azhar’s moderate clerics in spreading tolerant Islamic discourse, asserting its role to defend Islam from “the image presented abroad”.
The speech was given in the celebration of Laylat Al-Qadr, which is considered the holiest night of the year for Muslims, and is traditionally celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan.
He also stressed the importance of spreading the teaching of peace and acceptance. He added that, when he previously mentioned the term “renewing religious discourse”, he aimed to revolutionise performance of the religious institutions and the understating of texts. He told the preachers that they are not defending a religion but rather defending the divine.
Al-Sisi also discussed the phenomenon of atheism among young people, who “didn’t stand the amount of disputes, insults, and oppression on earth…I know that this will end soon”.
The president also discussed the latest attacks in the country, saying “these attacks didn’t respect the holy month of Ramadan, and were countered and resisted by the sons of Egypt”.
He also added that the main role of the government is to “defend the state and not go into side issues”.
Al-Sisi talked of the government’s achievements, saying that in the coming period the country will witness the inauguration of the new Suez Canal project will enhance trade and cultural diversity. He also vowed that more projects national to secure the future of the country will follow.
He also pointed that the role of religious clerics should not be limited to preaching inside mosques or churches but should extend to reach “teaching people the values of peace, love, and respect”.
Since being sworn-in as president, Al-Sisi has adopted the initiative calling for Islamic institutions in the country, including Al-Azhar, the Ministry of Religious Endowments, and Dar Al-Ifta, to “renew religious discourse”.
Lately, Egypt has depended diplomatically on its three major Sunni Muslim institutions to reverse the spread of Islamic militancy. The country has also taken the stance on the need to support the state and the current government or by addressing radical opponents of the government, such as the so-called “takfiri” elements.
Egypt’s Ministry of Religious Endowments has heavily condemned the actions of radical Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria, among security and regional concerns over the expansion by the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), which rebranded itself “Islamic State” establishing a self-proclaimed “Islamic Caliphate”.