On January 6, 2016, Egyptian President Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi attended the Coptic Christmas Mass in Cairo. In his speech, in which he wished Pope Tawadros II and the congregation a Merry Christmas, he said: "We have taken too long to fix and renovate [churches] that were burnt," and added: "I hope you accept our apologies for what happened." He pledged: "Allah willing, by next year, there will not remain a single church or home that has not been restored."
Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi: "Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. I'd just like to say a few words to you. Allow me to say... If I may... We are here, in Egypt. Egypt, which has educated human civilization for thousands of years, is educating (the world) today. It is saying to the people: 'Come on, what are you doing?!' It is saying this to the entire world. But until the entire world listens to us, figures out what we are saying, and implements what it has learned from us, and until this turns into norms and customs, it will take many years. That is the nature of Mankind.
"I was... I was just talking to... Why don't you just go on applauding non-stop... Listen, I was talking to... Merry Christmas to you too... A few days ago, I was talking with an intellectual, and I told him that we were in need of a book, or several books, that would teach people that there is diversity in the world. From the moment our children go to school and until they are at the university, we must tell them that we are not all the same. They will accept this. They will accept this with love, because this is how our Lord created us.
"This is my first point. The second point... Okay... The second point I would like to make is that if we actually did so, we would set the example for true love between people. That way, nothing could ever harm us.
"This was my second point. Long live Egypt – with your help. The final point I wanted to make to you... I want to tell you... No, long live Egypt. Long live Egypt. Long live Egypt with the help of its people, not with the help of Al-Sisi. Long live Egypt with the help of all its people. Okay, listen. Okay, listen... Okay... His Holiness the Patriarch will be mad at me... We have taken too long to fix and renovate (churches) that were burnt.
"This year, Allah willing, everything will be fixed, Your Holiness. Let me tell you... Let me tell you that I hope you accept our apologies for what happened. It wasn't... Yes, we are all united... Okay, let me just tell you... Allah willing, by next year, there will not remain a single church or home that has not been restored. Please note that we are not doing you a favor. This is the right thing to do.
"We shall never forget... Please hear me out... We shall never forget the position taken by you and the Patriarch. We shall never forget your patriotic and honorable position during this period. I would like to thank Your Holiness and all of you. Once again... I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Merry Christmas to us all. I hope that this new year, Allah willing, will be a year of goodness, peace, security, and stability for us all. And finally – long live Egypt with the help of us all! Merry Christmas. Thank you, Your Holiness."