Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has inaugurated Egypt’s largest cathedral in the new administrative capital east of Cairo, a day after a deadly bomb blast near a Coptic church.
The newly built Cathedral of Nativity had its first Mass under heavy security on Sunday, the eve of Coptic Christmas.
On Saturday, a policeman died trying to defuse an explosive device hidden on a roof in Nasr City outside Cairo.
Copts make up about 10% of Egypt’s Muslim-majority population.
Many say the state discriminates against them and does not offer them enough protection.
Mr Sisi, who declares himself a defender of Christians against extremists, told worshippers the simultaneous opening of the cathedral and the major Al-Fattah Al-Aleem mosque carried a message of unity.
“We are one and we will remain one,” Mr Sisi said as he opened the cathedral, referring to Egyptian Christians and Muslims.
The United States President Donald Trump took to twitter to commend President Sisi for the newly built Cathedral
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2019
Egypt ranks 16th on Christian support organization Open Doors 2019 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.