According to Fides News Agency, recognized Muslim academics from the Arab world’s most prestigious Islamic university have denounced recent threats made by extremist Islamists against Egyptian Christians.

In the lead up to Christmas, celebrated on Jan. 7 by Coptic Christians, death threats and organized attacks against Christian communities have been encouraged through blogs and fanatic internet websites targeting Egyptian areas where Islamist groups whose connections to Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood are stronger.

Responding to the seriousness of the threats, Amna Nosseir, dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies at al-Azhar University, “has strongly advocated that anti-Christian slogans and anti-Christian intimidations relaunched in view of Christmas represent a betrayal of authentic Islam.” Prof. Nosseir called on “Christians and Muslims” to protect the churches together from any threat, “…so that Egyptian Christians can celebrate their liturgical solemnities in peace,” Fides reported.

“We do not feel intimidated,” Coptic Catholic Bishop Anba Antonios Aziz Mina said, commenting that “threats and insults have been going on for years.” In fact, he noted, “the evil and fanatic attacks [cause] many sincere Muslims to react. This, paradoxically, is a positive result of the threats.”