Deaf Youth Clean and Beautify a Street in Old Cairo

As part of the “Together We Develop Egypt” project, a group of fifty deaf young adults, including both Christians and Muslims, participated in cleaning, painting, and beautifying Amro Street in Old Cairo. The project aimed to encourage youth to work together in community projects. The deaf youth were responsible for choosing this specific project. They first had a time of learning and planning, and then they began the work, which took roughly one month to complete. Amro Street was of particular interest to the deaf youth, because it is where the deaf church, the deaf school, and the deaf club are located. One of the oldest Anglican churches and a mosque also share the street.

“Together We Develop Egypt” is a project of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt in partnership with Misr El Kheir Foundation (an Islamic foundation chaired by the former Grand Mufti of Egypt). Thirteen groups of young adults in seven provinces are participating in this project. Some started literacy classes, while others developed a mobile library for children. Another group focused on planting trees in their village. The aim of the project is to bring religious harmony between Christian and Muslim youth, and instill the spirit of belonging, community, and a desire to build Egypt.

Yesterday we celebrated the opening of Amro street after it was cleaned and renovated. Dr. Ali Gomaa, the former Grand Mufti, together with Minister Ahmed Gameladine, the advisor for President Sisi, and Bishop Mouneer visited the street and encouraged the youth. After a tour of the street, the group went into Jesus Light of the World Anglican Church. They learned more about the details of the project, and some of the deaf youth sang in sign language. Many media outlets were interested in the event, and it was later featured on the news. Click here to view one of news reports.

 

One Muslim, One Anglican, One Goal: Peace

The former Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ali Gomaa, and the Anglican Bishop of Egypt, Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, were invited to give the keynote addresses at the inauguration of the Studies of Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme (SRP) at the Nanyang Technological University, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore from 5-11 June 2014.  During their visit to Singapore, they shared their Egyptian experience in “working together as a way of promoting national unity in Egypt.

The President of Singapore, Dr. Tony Tan, received Dr. Ali and Bishop Mouneer and was keen to hear about the situation in Egypt, especially as their visit coincided with the installation of the new President of Egypt, el-Sisi.  He assured both of them that Singapore will stand with Egypt at this very important time.  The Prime Minister of Singapore,  Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, also received them and wrote in his Facebook page, “I could see that Sheikh Dr. Ali Gomaa and Archbishop Dr. Mouneer are good friends, working closely together to promote peace and harmony between Muslims and Christians there.

with the President

It is worth mentioning that Dr. Gomaa founded an NGO called “Misr El Khair” which is very much involved in community development work within Egypt.  Misr El Khair became a partner to the Anglican Diocese of Egypt in a number of projects including, “Fighting Reversible Blindness” and “Primary Health Care Outreach.”  These projects serve both Christians and Muslims in Egypt.  Dr. Gomaa said, “working together has a greater impact on religious harmony at the grass roots level than interfaith dialogue meetings.”  Bishop Mouneer said, “in spite of our doctrinal differences we can still work together for the common good.

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The Anglican Diocese of Singapore and the High Islamic Council of Singapore organized a seminar about “A Strong and Positive Interreligious Relations in a Pluralistic Society.”  Both Dr. Gomaa and Dr. Mouneer spoke and responded to many questions at this seminar.  It is known that Singapore is very keen on religious harmony as there are followers of at least ten different faith communities, and they have laws for religious harmony as well as a special council for religious harmony. The visit was widely covered by the media.  One of the articles written was under the title, “One Muslim, One Anglican, One Goal: Peace.”

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Visit of Rev Stephen Sizer to Holy Trinity Church, Algiers

Rev Hamdy Daoud, the priest-in-charge of Holy Trinity Church in Algiers, recently hosted Rev Stephen Sizer, and said “We enjoyed Rev Stephen preaching in our Church on Friday; he spoke about the future in the Christian theology and he gave us 7 irrefutable biblical points by which we stand firm against Christian Zionism claims. The church was very well attended, 110 people from 10 different nationalities.

During his visit, Rev Stephen was interviewed three times by Algerian Television and Radio programs, gave lectures for an Islamic institute in Algiers, and addressed Muslim leaders and scholars in the University of Oran. The lectures were on the topics of: the historical roots of Christian Zionism, the political agenda of Christian Zionism, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict from Christian Perspective.

All of the lectures were received very well. Rev Stephen could powerfully shake the theological foundation of Christian Zionism movement and helped Algerians Muslims (leaders and students) understand Christian Zionism. One of the Islamic Leaders thanked Rev Stephen for removing wrong illusions about Christians. All appreciated the call of Rev Stephen that justice has got to be achieved for Palestinians. All appreciated the Biblical call for peace, doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God.”

We do thank God for supporting us by Rev Stephen to work with us last week. We do thank God for supporting us by Algerian officials; we do appreciate their support and we also do thank the interior ministry who escorted us in Oran!! Events like this in Algeria show that Christian community is important for the continuation of Muslim Christian dialogue and for the development of their society!

 

 

Imams and Priests Working Together to Address Sectarian Problems in Egypt

Together for a Better Egypt: the Imam-Priest Exchange,’ is an interfaith initiative co-ordinated by the Diocese. 30 imams and 30 priests are brought together for 4 weekends each year, in order to facilitate mutual understanding and encourage peaceful relationships between Muslims and Christians in Egypt.

The third meeting (30 September – 2 October) focused on how imams and priests can work together to address sectarian problems in Egypt.

Understanding each other’s place of worship. The group spent time in a Catholic Church in Cairo, and during a prayer time at a mosque in Menouf (a city in the Nile Delta). This allowed the participants to understand more about each others traditions and forms of worship.

Practical ways to work together. Bishop Mouneer hosted a session where participants discussed practical ways to work together. The ideas will be presented at the next meeting of  Beit il-Aila (House of the Family), a group which brings together Christian heads of denominations and Muslim leaders in Egypt. Ideas and actions included;

  • One participant is a Presbyterian priest from Imbaba, a poor area of Cairo which has faced sectarian violence previously. He recently met with the imam from the near-by mosque and they discussed how to stop the disease of violence. They agreed that they need to face problems directly. One area they will work on together is addressing the spirit of fanaticism in schools.
  • One imam shared how the exaggeration of the media increases the sectarian problems.
  • Another imam shared “we commit a serious mistake when we talk about ‘us’ and ‘them.’ We should always say we.
  • Another participants shared how a major problem is ignorance and illiteracy. “People who are open minded and educated have the responsibility to teach uneducated people about tolerance.”
  • A Coptic priest from Ismalaya shared how he and the local imam visited an Islamic hospital and orphanage together. He said “People in the street were surprised and excited to see us visiting together. People are eager to hear and see hope. It is a matter of example and relationships, doing not just talking.”

Practically Serving the Community. The group spent a day in Menouf visiting children at the Episcopal School,  special needs children at the Menara Centre, patients at Harpur Memorial Hospital,  as well as a Coptic Orthodox church and a mosque. They walked through the streets together, which suprised the residents of this rural area of Egypt. One man was so happy that he wanted to invite the whole group for a meal! At the school, one imam shared at the group assembly. “Long live Egypt. Long live Islam and long live Christianity. Long live Egypt free and having national unity. Long live the country where we live together. Long live the Nile that gives us water. In the name of the one God, I pray that national unity will keep us from destruction.”

Building Bridges. The group visited the Minister of El-Awqaf, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and Bishop Mouneer,  Dr. Mahmoud Azab (consultant of the Grand Imam for interfaith dialogue), Bishop Armaya (the Coptic Bishop responsible for interfaith dialogue) and others shared about the initiative.

Standing in Solidarity. 10 priests and imams visited the priest of Al-Adra Coptic Church in Al-Warraq, Cairo. In October, 5 people were shot, including an 8-year-old girl, as they were leaving a wedding at this church.  The Coptic priest expressed how deeply he appreciated this visit.

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New Honorary Canon of All Saints Cathedral Cairo

Announcement

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Bishop of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, is pleased to announce that he will install

 The Rev. Dr. Toby Howarth

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Inter-Religious Affairs

as an Honorary Canon of All Saints Cathedral during the 75th Anniversary of All Saints Cathedral Cairo from 1-3 November 2013.

This honorary appointment is in recognition of great work and tireless efforts of The Rev. Dr. Howarth in regard to the important and longstanding interfaith dialogue between the Anglican Communion and Al Azhar Al Sherif, the hub of Sunni Islam throughout the world, located in Cairo, Egypt.

The Rev. Dr. Howarth has visited Egypt and various parts of the Middle East many times, and previously taught Islamic Studies at Crowther Hall, when he was their Vice Principal. His background in Islamic studies and interfaith dialogue will enrich the Cathedral, the Diocese, and the wider community.

 

Iftar Meal Hosted by Diocese

Bishop Mouneer hosted a Ramadan ‘Iftar’ (meal breaking the fast) on the 17th July at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo. The event was attended by the current Grand Mufti, Shawky Allam, the former Grand Mufti, Dr. Ali Gomaa, and many other Christian and Muslim leaders and Ambassadors. Bishop Mouneer says “it is time to work together to rebuild Egypt again.”

The Diocese has many ministry and projects which serve Muslims and Christians, which help to bring greater unity between religious groups. Our community development centres run by EpiscoCare provide over 1500 microloans each year. During the event, contracts for 5 micro-loans were signed with people served by our centres. The event was also attended by Imams and Priests from the ‘Together for a New Egypt’ Imam-Priest Exchange initiative, and young Muslims and Christians from the Arkan Culture Centre in Alexandria.

 

اقام المطران الدكتور  منير حنا مطران الكنيسة الاسقفية بمصر وشمال افريقيا والقرن اللافريقى  حفل “افطار محبة “يوم الاربعاء 17 يوليو 2013

واثناء الحفل اعلنت مؤسسه الرعاية الأسقفية ( الأبيسكوكير ) عن بدأ مشروع جديد للقروض الصغيرة وقد وقع خمسة افراد علي استلامهم اول دفعة من هذه المنح .

كما حضر اللقاء عدد من شباب   مركز اركان الثقافي الفني بالأسكندرية وشارك ايضاً عدداً من الأئمة والقسوس المشاركين بمشروع تبادل القسوس والأئمة .

وقد حضر الحفل كل من الدكتور شوقى علام مفتى الجمهورية والدكتور على جمعه المفتى السابق والدكتور محمود عزب نيابة عن فضيلة الأستاذ الدكتور احمد الطيب شيخ الازهرالشريف ومعالى الوزير منير فخرى عبدالنور وزير التجارة والصناعة ولفيف من السادة سفراء الدول الأجنبية  ايرلندا وانجلترا واثيوبيا واستراليا وبريطانيا والاستاذ جرجس صالح والاستاذ سمير مرقس والدكتور على السمان والإعلامي  مفيد فوزى والاب بيشوى حلمى عن مجلس كنائس مصر والاب رفيق جريش والمستشار عدلى حسين والمستشار امير رمزى.

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