Dear Pope Francis,
Egyptians say to you: Hatnwarna; an Egyptian colloquial phrase that we use to summarize a deep meaning that translates into: “You will bring light with you to us. We look forward to your visit.”
Upon your arrival, you will find a nation with three main characteristics:
First, the hopeful and proud people of Egypt believe and endorse your emblematic message: “The world needs peace, love and mercy.” Egyptians today follow in the footsteps of their ancestors and thus welcome you “as a friend, as a messenger of peace, and a pilgrim to the country that—over 2,000 years ago—gave refuge and hospitality to the Holy Family as they fled the threats of King Herod,” as you stated in your message to the Egyptian people a few days ago.
You remind Egyptians of Saint Francis of Assisi who crossed the Mediterranean Sea to meet with Sultan al-Kamel and put an end to the Fifth Crusade 800 years ago. It is the same message of peace that Egyptians endorsed then and that their ancestors sanction now.
Second, your visit comes as the death toll of Egyptians mounts due to the terrorist attacks launched against Egyptians, Christians and Muslims alike. Egyptians know that they will win their battle against terrorists who claim to be Muslims but act against all the teachings of Islam. Egyptians will win because of their serenity and resilience. Terrorists thought that targeting Christians would drive a wedge between Christians and Muslims. Contrary to the extremists’ expectations, Muslims took it upon themselves to help Christian victims and their families, donate blood and money, and wave a stronger fabric of national unity under the slogan of “one nation, different regions under one God.”
Third, Egyptians join hands with you in calling for the bloodshed to stop in the Arab World. Egyptians have given refuge to millions of Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians, Sudanese and Yemenis as their duty toward humanity. Egypt has no refugee camps and has no way to isolate and discriminate against non-Egyptians. Egyptians can and want to help our brothers and sisters throughout the region, but we need the help and support of all nations and organizations.
Sir, you will be meeting top Egyptian political, religious and intellectual figures. They will likely tell you that we need the Catholic Church to tell the world that Egypt is a country of peace, Islam is a religion of peace; and enemies of peace are of different nationalities and religions.
You know how extremists misrepresented Catholicism. Islam has caught the same disease and we are fighting back. Your prayers and support are much appreciated.
God bless you.