In an interview exploring how best to tackle terrorism, Egypt’s most senior Anglican said he doubts the effectiveness of interfaith dialogue, reports the Church Times.
Dr Mouneer Anis, President-Bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, said “dialogue is wonderful, but usually people who accept to sit and talk with each other in interfaith dialogue are those who are tolerant, and those who are not militant.
“Moderate Muslims need to have a dialogue with those jihadists. It’s much easier than having a dialogue between Christians and jihadists, which is very difficult.”
The bishop urged Christians and Muslims to be more proactive as a way of preventing terrorism. “We only meet and talk when a disaster happens,” he said.
He described Egypt’s response to recent terrorism as “doing like the British” by “trying to fight terrorists and suspicious groups”, which, he warned, is “not 100-per-cent curative, because it deals with the thing after it happens”.
It is also important, he said, for all children to be taught an “agreed curriculum”, with religious instruction an optional addition. “To have separate education is very dangerous: it will not help in bringing harmony into the society,” the bishop said.