Egyptian Christians Reject Meeting With Pence in Protest of Trump's Jerusalem Decision

Coptic Church criticized Trump's move, saying it was made 'without consideration for the feelings of millions of people'

(FILES) This file photo taken on June 09, 2013 shows leader of Egypt's Coptic Christians Pope Tawadros II in Cairo.
AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI

Egypt’s Coptic Church has rejected a meeting requested by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during his visit in the region later this month in protest against Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, MENA state news agency reported on Saturday.

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The Church “excused itself from hosting Mike Pence” when he visits Egypt, citing Trump’s decision. The Church further said that the move came at “at an unsuitable time" and said it was made "without consideration for the feelings of millions of people,” MENA said.

U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, December 7, 2017
Saul Loeb / AFP

"We pray for everyone to have wisdom and rationality in addressing issues that affect the peace of the Middle East peoples," the church added in a statement.

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On Friday, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the head of al-Azhar, Egypt's highest Islamic body, announced that he was cancelling a meeting with Pence in a similar protest.

Clashes erupted for the third day running on Saturday between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers following U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Trump delivered a landmark speech in Washington Wednesday, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. As expected, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the announcement, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the U.S. can no longer act as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.