Thousands of protesters marched in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday to stress the unity between Egypt’s Muslims and Christian Copts following sectarian clashes that ended with a dozen dead and more than 200 injured last week.
The march, which coincided with a rally in the square in solidarity with Palestinians, began with a Christian Mass followed by Friday prayers.
Cleric Mazhar Shahin, who delivered the Friday prayer speech, said Islam and Christianity do not teach hatred or incitement of violence.
“Such strife is intended by a group of people who are neither Muslims nor Christians,” Shahin said as he warned Egyptians not to let extremists divide them.
Both Muslim and Coptic Christian protesters joined the demonstration, chanting, “Muslims and Copts are one hand” and carrying banners that said, “Egypt is for all Egyptians.”
“We need to have constitutional guarantees securing equal citizenship rights and respecting all religions without discrimination between Muslims and Copts,” Adel Mahmoud, who is Muslim, told Babylon and Beyond.