These past few weeks have been testing indeed for Egyptians of all faiths. Last November, terrorists killed 310 people in an attack on a mosque in North Sinai, the deadliest in Egypt’s modern history. And last week, nine people were killed in two attacks targeting a Coptic church and a shop in the working-class district of Helwan in south Cairo. Egyptian intelligence, security and police services are working flat out to bring the evildoers behind these attacks to justice, and the government rightly continues to utilise the State of Emergency powers to ensure all Egyptians are protected from terrorists.

When evil men set out to kill, bomb and maim as many as possible, it matters not what the faiths of those innocent victims are. All bleed, and all families share the same pain at the loss of loved ones killed by terrorists who are driven by philosophies of hatred and evil. Now, there is a true sign that all Egyptians are standing together to show would-be killers that the nation is united against them. The Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmad Al Tayyib, last Friday urged Egyptian Muslims to join their Coptic compatriots in celebrating Christmas, and his call comes after the attack on the Coptic church.

“All Egyptian people are urged to stand firm against this evil conspiracy and make these good days an opportunity to emphasise this through Muslims’ joining their Coptic brethren in celebrating the anniversary of Christ’s birth,” Al Tayyib said in a statement. Coptic Christians celebrate the Christmas on January 7.

It is a profound and deeply moving gesture, and one that should be taken to heart in a stand for right and humanity.