President Donald Trump on Sunday praised Egypt and its President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for opening the largest Christian church in the Middle East.
“Excited to see our friends in Egypt opening the biggest Cathedral in the Middle East,” Trump tweeted. “President El-Sisi [sic] is moving his country to a more inclusive future!”
The Cathedral of the Nativity opened Sunday on the Coptic Christmas Eve. Coptic Christians make up an estimated 10 percent of Egypt’s nearly 100 million people and have long complained of discrimination under laws that favor Muslims.
“This is an important moment in our history,” el-Sissi said in a speech as he opened the cathedral. “We are one and we will remain one,” he added, referring to Egyptian Christians and Muslims.
“On this day we see you have fulfilled this promise and here we are witnessing a great opening on this grand occasion,” said Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic church.
The pope will hold a midnight mass Sunday in honor of the cathedral’s opening.
The church can hold over 8,000 patrons and is decorated with Coptic icons and symbols.
The Islamic State group has consistently targeted Christians, and more than 100 have been killed over the past few years.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.