Souraya Bachealany is making her first official visit to Egypt – Egypttoday/Ashraf Fawzy
CAIRO – 17 December 2018: Souraya Bachealany, the first lady to serve as the secretary-general of the Beirut-based Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), is making her first official visit to Egypt since taking office in January to speak about the role of the council in relieving afflicted communities.
Meeting Egyptian journalists in the Coptic Orthodox Church's culture center on Saturday, Bachealany said that Christianity in the Middle East has accompanied Muslims and that both Muslims and Christians are inseparable from each other.
Bachealany said the culture of accepting the other is the most important thing that children and youth should learn growing up. She added that the Middle East needs both Muslims and Christians and urged media to raise awareness on the importance of accepting others in order to make the Middle East a good example for the world.
Meeting Egyptian journalists in the Coptic Orthodox Church's culture center on Saturday, Bachealany said that Muslims and Christians are inseparable from each other – Egypttoday/Ashraf Fawzy
The Lebanese leader said that the MECC works with the local churches, and does not discriminate between Muslims, Christians or others, adding that the council also works on supporting the Christian-Islamic dialogue.
Concerning the relief of afflicted communities of the Middle East, Bachealany said that the MECC is trying to support humanitarian action and serve the environment. She added that $3 million are being spent on relief and development services.
There are many countries living in great challenges, Bachealany pointed out, saying that her current visit to Egypt comes due to the importance of the Egyptian state and its churches.
The MECC tackled many issues and crises in the region, including the Palestinian issue and serving the Palestinian refugees, the Lebanese crisis and conflicts in Iraq and Syria, Bachealany said, adding that the council worked on relieving the affected citizens through providing humanitarian aid including food, medicine and others.
Egyptian Bishop Anba Ermia during the meeting – Egypttoday/Ashraf Fawzy
Egyptian Bishop Anba Ermia, president of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Centre, who also attended the meeting, said that the Middle East Council of Churches was the first to call for and establish the Christian-Muslim dialogue, adding that the center has an insight and a future vision for such dialogue.
The MECC, through Dr. Bachealany, is making a great effort to contribute to development in Syria and Iraq in terms of education, treatment and health, Anba Ermia said, adding that he hopes this effort "will bring good to these countries."
Father Gabriel Hashim, director of the Theological and Ecumenical Department of the MECC, said that Muslims and Christians have been living together in the Middle East for more than 15 centuries.
Unlike the West, where Islam has recently arrived, here in the East Muslims and Christians share a common life and a common destiny, Hashim said, adding that Islam is part of Christianity and that there is no Christianity that is separate from Islam and vice versa.
Additional reporting by Amr Mohamed Kandil