Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie paid a visit to Pope Shenouda III at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Abbasseya on Wednesday.
This is the first visit from the leader of Egypt’s largest and most influential Islamic group since its establishment in 1928.
Badie wanted to greet Pope Shenouda upon his return from the United States, where he was undergoing medical testing.
Badie was accompanied by other leading members of the group, including Mahmoud Ezzat, a deputy leader.
Copts make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 80 million. Historically, they have depended on the Church to negotiate with the state on their behalf, especially with regard to church building. They now find themselves in a precarious situation as parliamentary elections swept Islamist political parties into power.
This year, leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party participated for the first time in the Christmas celebration. Mohamed Morsy, the head of the FJP, and Saad al-Katatny, then the party’s secretary general, greeted Pope Shenouda but left before the beginning of mass.