AFRICA/EGYPT - In al Moqattam church and mosque built on the same ground, in the sign of national unity

Thursday, 9 July 2020 middle east   oriental churches   islam   dialogue   sectaniarism  


Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The inauguration date has not yet been announced, but the imposing shapes of the church and the mosque built next to each other, on the same two-acre plot, in the urban district of al Moqattam, north-eastern suburb of Cairo are already visible. The architectural complex "a church and a mosque" does not provide for any dividing barrier between the two places of worship, intended to share services and common spaces. This is the realization of a project strongly desired by former Egyptian parliamentarian Nabil Luke al-Babawi, known for his initiatives aimed at promoting national harmony and coexistence between the various components of Egyptian society.
The idea of building a church and a mosque next to each other, as a sign of the closeness that unites Christians and Egyptian Muslims in the common national identity, appeared in al Babawi's mind in 2013, the year marked by dozens of attacks against churches by Islamist groups, following the dismissal of President Mohamed Morsi. According to the project sponsored by al Babawi, there will be a library in the same area shared between the church and the mosque, where one can consult and buy books on spirituality, theology and Christian and Muslim religious topics. The definitive project – reports al Badawi in some statements also reported by CoptsToday - also foresees the construction of places of entertainment and children's playrooms. In this way, Christians and Muslims will be able to leave their children to play together in the garden or in the playroom while they participate in religious rites, and this too, according to the inspirers of the project, will help the new generations to grow protected from the propaganda and threats of sectarianism. The proponents of the initiative present the al Moqattam project as a pilot experiment, to be replicated in other neighborhoods in Cairo and in other Egyptian cities, also thanks to the contribution of Muslim and Christian businessmen.
The desire to carry out architectural projects aimed at promoting the coexistence of solidarity between the different identities of faith of the Egyptian people also from an urban point of view appears as a distinctive feature of the current national leadership: just think of the new Coptic Cathedral and the Great Mosque built by the will of President Abdel Fattah al Sisi in the urban area 45 km from Cairo destined to become the new administrative capital of Egypt. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 9/7/2020)