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Sisi’s church donation stirs religious controversy

When Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi donated 100,000 Egyptian pounds to build a mosque and a church in the new administrative capital, he stirred a wave of criticism and a religious controversy over Muslims donating to church building.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends a meeting with Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II, head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, with some members of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt July 28, 2016 in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTSK39U

CAIRO — Egypt’s Coptic Christians have become used to visits by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. On Jan. 6, for the third year in a row, Sisi celebrated Coptic Christmas at the Abbasiya Cathedral in Cairo, extending Christmas wishes to the country’s Copts and Tawadros II, the pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

This year, the celebration was different. The cathedral where Sisi addressed the congregation and delivered Christmas wishes stands just meters from St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church, where an explosion during a service on Dec. 11 claimed the lives of 27 people and wounded 48, mostly women and children.

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