We began tackling the idea of establishing the “Egyptian Family House” in order to preserve the one national fabric of the Egyptians, given the several challenges the country is going through. The activities of the Egyptian Family House have been ceaseless along ten years, during that accurate and critical stage in the history of Egypt. These activities started through eight specialized committees then two committees were added, to become ten committees in total, each has its own role and work. The Family House also has 17 branches in 15 governorates.
As soon as the Egyptian Family House was formed, it actively started to carry out a number of achievements in the field of the national unity and the affirmation of citizenship values among the people, especially in those areas that suffer from poverty and ignorance; it organized a number of meetings for imams and priests entitled: “Together for Egypt” that lasted for three years, during which lectures, seminars, discussions and training sessions were presented, as well as joint convoys to visit mosques, churches, monasteries, hospitals, schools and some national projects, which had a positive impact in activating the common values and restoring the abandoned values. I remember calling Mr. Ahmed El-Sersawy to one of those meetings; He wrote about his experience: “I will never forget this trip and rich experience in my life… It was a week of coexistence among a group of Egyptians who represented a wonderful mixture of Muslim and Christian scholars and clergymen. The organizers made sure that every Muslim preacher stayed with a priest in one room, to achieve coexistence in thought, application and spirit, and I discovered a feature that is common in all of them, in addition to the spiritual and mental aspects, which is the love of humor and high-end jokes”.
The Egyptian Family House, in partnership with the Social and Religious Education of the Ministry of Education and Technical Education, succeeded in making friends in many schools in the governorates through practicing programs and activities aimed at instilling the values of love, friendliness and citizenship among students, and addressing violence and hatred. In a constant quest to affirm the common values and principles among religions, besides the establishment of many conferences and meetings, such as the “Together Against Terror” conference in 2017.
With the ascending role of the Egyptian Family House and its successes, skeptics began to try to raise false suspicions concerning its goals. Here, I think it is important to present the clarification made by His Eminence the Grand Imam, Prof. Dr. Ahmad al-Tayeb in his speech about these attempts, he said: “Fulfilling the duty of honesty of the word requires me- before leaving this position- to summarize the statement in a matter, which I think it needs some clarification, or let’s say: a warning; to clear the doubts and suspicions that some raise, in an attempt to distract attention from this House, and leave it to merciful death, or to remain a lifeless body; neither alive, nor dead! This matter is: an attempt to confuse the fraternity of “Islam” and “Christianity” in defending the right of the Egyptian citizen to live in security, peace and stability. Yes, the confusion between this fraternity and mingling of these two religions, dissolving the differences and divisions specific to each of them, especially in light of the trends that call for “Abrahamic” or “the Abrahamic religion” – in reference to “Abraham”, peace be upon him, the father of the prophets, the compiler of their messages and the meeting place of their laws – these trends seem to aspire to mixing “Judaism”, “Christianity” and “Islam” in one message or one religion upon which people gather, and save them from the evils of disputes and conflicts that lead to the loss of lives, bloodshed and armed wars among people, even among the followers of the same religion and the believers of one faith. This approach is similar to the case of “globalization”, “the end of history”, “global ethics”, and others; these claims, although they appear to be a call to the human society and its unification, and the elimination of the causes of its disputes and conflicts, while in fact, it is a call to confiscate the most precious possessions of humankind: “freedom of belief,” “freedom of faith,” and “freedom of choice,” all of which are guaranteed by religions and confirmed in explicit and clear texts. It is a call in which dreams are many times more accurate than the correct understanding of the facts and their natures. The conclusion of these brief words is: Al-Azhar and its scholars are open up to the churches of Egypt and its men and leaders, foremost of which is: the Orthodox Church. Likewise, the Egyptian churches are open up to Al-Azhar- not to dissolve the differences between creeds, sects and religions as some may claim- and it is clear that it was difficult for some to understand the difference between respecting the other’s belief and believing in it, as respecting the other’s belief is one thing, and confessing it is something else.” And … Stories about the Egyptian Family House continues from the endless talk about beautiful Egypt!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center
24 November 2021