President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has inaugurated one of the region’s biggest mosques alongside the Middle East’s largest cathedral in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) on January 6, coinciding with the Coptic Christmas celebrations.
Below is some important information you should know about the two giant religious centers, followed by a collection of the most powerful quotes said about this event.
El-Fattah El-Aleem Grand Mosque
The mosque, located an hour and a half away from Cairo, is built on a total area of 59 acres and can accommodate over 16,000 prayers, marking the largest Mosque in Egypt and one of the biggest in the Middle East.
Constructed by the Arab Contractors (AC), the grand mosque encompasses a praying area, women praying area, two ablutions for men – and the same for women, and two elevators for those with special needs, besides a heavenly messages museum, Quran memorizing unit, and a charity hospital with a capacity of 300 beds.
Cathedral of the Nativity in Cairo
Located east of the exhibition project EXPO and south of NAC’s central park, the mega Coptic cathedral spans across 15 acres – or 63,000 square meters – and comprises papal headquarters, administrative offices, a main square, as well as a reception hall, a meeting room, and a two-story underground garage.
With a built-up area of 7,500 square meters, the cathedral can accommodate more than 8,000 Coptic worshipers, who represent around 10% of Egypt’s total population.
What People Said About This Unprecedented Move
The Egyptian president’s inauguration of the two sacred buildings was well received among both the world and Arab top leaders. In this regard, following are some key quotes said about such move:
US President Donald Trump tweeted:
“Excited to see our friends in Egypt opening the biggest Cathedral in the Middle East. President El-Sisi is moving his country to a more inclusive future.”
Pope Francis of the Vatican stated:
“I offer a special tribute to my dear brother, his Holiness Pope Twadrous II and to the Coptic Orthodox Church, which knows how to give a true testimony of faith and love in times of crisis.”
Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said:
“The inauguration of El-Fattah El-Aleem Mosque and Cathedral of the Nativity in NAC at the same time will be etched in Egypt’s history.”
Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt’s top Islamic institution Al-Azhar, noted:
“I consider this move as an exceptional event that has never happened before in the history of Christianity and Islam. The Islamic state is a legal guarantor of the churches of the Christians and the synagogues of the Jews. The Sharia obligates the Muslims to protect mosques and churches equally.”
Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of St. Mark Diocese noted:
“This was impossible because they are huge buildings and [needed to be] built in this short time. We see and care about bread as food for the bodies, but souls also find their food in these spiritual and religious institutions.”