Minarets of a mosque and a cross on top of a church are seen during cold weather before Sunday's Coptic Christmas Eve Mass in Cairo Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai; The inaugration of Egypt’s Catherdral of Christ and the Al Alim Mosque by Egyptian President Al Sissi on Sunday is a promising development for the region, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said.

“What we see in many Arab countries, like what happened in Egypt, promises the return to moderation and tolerance.”

Gargash, said the move indicated the great diversity of the nation, which is home to both Muslims and Christians.

The inauguration sends a great message of Muslim and Christian unity, Gargash said.

Egypt’s president on Sunday inaugurated a new cathedral for the Coptic Orthodox Church and one of the region’s largest mosques in a highly symbolic gesture at a time when Islamist militants are increasingly targeting the country’s minority Christians.

Al Sissi has made sectarian harmony a cornerstone of his rule, fighting Islamic militancy while advocating equality between the overwhelming Muslim majority and Christians, who account for 10 per cent of Egypt’s 100 million people.

Sunday’s opening ceremony in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, Al Sissi’s brainchild that is located in the desert east of Cairo, stressed what the pro-government media like to call the “unbreakable national fabric” of Christians and Muslims.

Entertainers and chorus lines took to the stage to sing about the two faiths living peacefully side by side.

Short films on the same topic were also screened.

The ceremony’s presenters portrayed the construction of the cathedral and the mosque, which took 18 months to complete, as a message to humanity.

“It is a message to the whole world that Egypt is a nation for all,” said one presenter.

- with inputs from AP