Islamist group Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya will focus efforts to end sectarian strife, said leaders and members of the group’s political wing the Building and Development Party (BDP) in a press conference on Wednesday.
The initiative called “one nation and coexistence” will seek to devise solutions for sectarian issues through dialogue.
Khaled Al-Sherif, media spokesman for the BDP, said that Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya and its political party had worked to create unity in the country.
Al-Sherif also claimed the initiative was part of the country’s efforts to complete the goals of the revolution and said the group would seek dialogue with churches, Coptic businessmen, and other members of the country’s Christian community.
The initiative came from a desire to ease tensions between Copts and Muslims, and takes place in the face of failed attempts to generate fabricated crises between different factions of society, claimed Tarek Al-Zomor, head of the BDP’s political bureau.
Mufti of the group Abdel Qader Hammad added that the oppression of non-Muslims was forbidden in Islam by the Prophet Mohammad. Hammad blamed secularists for driving a wedge between Egyptian Muslims and Copts.
Chairman of the BDP Nasr Abdel Salam said his party had decided to undertake the initiative to “reassure Copts of their presence in Egypt and to confirm that Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya accepts Copts because they are partners in the homeland”.
Essmat Al-Sawy, coordinator of the party’s Coptic affairs, said the initiative would build a “preventive strategy” to sectarian issues and build strong communication between people throughout the country.
Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in the 1990s and participated in the intimidation of Christian communities, especially in Upper Egypt, before the leaders of the group denounced violence in 2003.