The words of His Grace the great Imam Dr. Ahmed Tayeb Sheikh of Al-Azhar very precious during the speech he has delivered at the opening of the New Cathedral of the New Administrative Capital. He assured that there is nothing in Islamic Sharia that prevents building new churches and the majority of churches in Egypt were built under Muslim rulers. We thank him for what he said since he represents 1.5 billion Muslim people.
However, we don t accept what he said that Islamic state is the guarantee for all churches. In fact, we live under a civil state and I wanted to hear from him that the Egyptian state is the guarantee and the protector for all churches and mosques. The state of citizenship can not restrain to a specific religion to protect the other religion. In that case, we are trying to return the Copts to be Dhimis under the protection of Islamic Caliphate. Such words give him the power of giving and preventing at the same time, which contradicts with the modern understanding of a civil state.
The protection of the citizens is duty of the state and the civil law organizes building both mosques and churches. I trust that His Grace has good intentions, but I had to clarify my thoughts. Long live Egypt and we should remain united.