Egyptian President el-Sisi Extends an Olive Branch of Friendship and Cooperation in Historic First-Ever Meeting with Delegation of American Evangelical Leaders
CAIRO, EGYPT, November 2, 2017 – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi extended an olive branch of friendship and cooperation with American Evangelical Christians during his first-ever meeting with a delegation of Evangelical leaders at the Presidential Palace in the suburb of Heliopolis Wednesday, calling for unity and solidarity in confronting and eliminating terrorism in the region.
The meeting kicked off the delegation’s four-day visit to the Egyptian capital to meet with top government officials and religious leaders. Also attending was General Khalid Fawzi, Chief of Egyptian Intelligence, and Dr. Andrea Zaki, President of the Protestant Churches of Egypt.
The meeting, which was scheduled to last one hour, ended up lasting nearly three hours. Notwithstanding recent attacks on his own security forces, President el-Sisi began the frank and transparent dialogue by expressing his condolences for the families of the victims killed in a terrorist attack in New York City.
New York Times best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg, the host of the delegation, expressed the group’s appreciation for the President’s courageous move to rescue the Egyptian people from the tyranny and terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood. He also expressed the group’s deep love for Egypt, the land of refuge in the Bible, referred to by God Himself in Isaiah 19, “Egypt, My people.” He then shared the purpose of their visit: to build bridges of friendship and understanding with the people and leaders of Egypt; show support and pursue cooperation with the national government and faith leaders in their ongoing battle against Radical Islamist extremism; and to go back home and tell the American people and the world the truth about Egypt.
“This is an historic Kairos moment in Cairo,” Rosenberg said. “An Arab Muslim leader who is bravely and effectively fighting terrorism invited Evangelicals from America to spend time with him, hear his heart, and build bridges of lasting friendship between our countries. He wants to work together to strengthen the U.S.-Egyptian alliance and advance peace and religious freedom. It was an extraordinary meeting, and we told the President, ‘Yes, we will help.’ We are honored to stand in solidarity with Egypt in your fight against terrorism, which is our fight, too.”
President el-Sisi emphasized his desire to maintain and build upon the historic peace agreement and cooperation with Israel started by his predecessor, the late President Anwar el-Sadat. He spoke of the high priority he places on the protection of religious freedom for all faith communities. He also reiterated his commitment to upholding principles of citizenship, equality and non-discrimination among citizens and ongoing efforts to rebuild an economy shattered by the destructive years of the Muslim Brotherhood’s reign of terror. He further invited the group’s assistance in advancing human rights, especially investing in better education through partnerships with American colleges and universities, including Christian schools.
Former U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann, who had visited with President el-Sisi three times while in Congress, called him “The George Washington of Egypt,” a leader who has demonstrated strength, humility and vision in forming a new government and building a stronger country after the explosive days of the Arab Spring revolution. She noted the President has kept his promise to rebuild the Coptic Orthodox and Protestant churches destroyed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Dr. Zaki agreed, saying, “I believe that President el-Sisi is the future hope for Egypt and for all faith communities in this nation.”
After the meeting with the President, the Delegation was welcomed by former Egyptian First Lady Jehan Sadat, widow of former Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat, for tea in her home of 47 years, which she called the “House of Peace.” She explained it was in that very sitting room that President Sadat first had a vision for the historic peace treaty with Israel to which he was deeply committed, and for which he ultimately gave his life.
November 19, 2017 marks the 40th Anniversary of President Sadat’s stunning visit to Jerusalem, culminating in The Camp David Accords he signed nearly one year later, before being assassinated by radical army officers in 1981. Mrs. Sadat shared with the group from her heart the details of that tragic day, and the character traits that made her husband such a great leader.
On Thursday, the delegation met with two top Islamic leaders -- the Egyptian Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments Muhammad Jumu’ah and the Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam -- followed by lunch and an afternoon roundtable discussion with 60 Evangelical and Protestant Pastors and ministry leaders to discuss their vision for the future of the church in Egypt.
Mr. Rosenberg hosted the delegation of American Evangelical leaders, which includes:
Dr. Delanyo (Dela) Adadevoh, vice president of Campus Crusade for Christ International (Cru);
Hon. Michele Bachmann, influential former U.S. Member of Congress and member of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Committee;
Lt.-Gen. (retired) Jerry Boykin, former U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence;
Mario Bramnick, Vice-President of International Affairs for National Latina/Latino Commission (NLLC) and senior pastor of New Wine Ministries Church;
Dr. Mike Evans, founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team, founder of the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem and member of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Committee;
Dr. Jim Garlow, senior pastor at Skyline Church and member of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Committee;
Rev. Johnnie Moore, author of “Defying ISIS” and member of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Committee;
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council;
A. Larry Ross, founder of A. Larry Ross Communications;
Bob Vanderplaats, president of The Family Leader; and
Dr. Michael Youssef, prominent Arab Evangelical Christian leader in the U.S., pastor and host of “Leading The Way.”