Imam Ibrahim Mogra, an alumnus of Al-Azhar university and Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, was among four UK Muslim leaders who met with Pope Francis, told the British paper The Tablet, that Egypt had a "wonderful history of co-existence", pointing out that the Coptic Christian presence was there before Muslims arrived.
"Sadly things have really deteriorated," he explained. "I'm sure His Holiness will register his concern and remind Muslim leaders in Egypt and political leaders that it is their religious and political duties to safeguard the religious rights - and the human rights - of the minority communities."
police shoot dead 2 Brotherhood members
In another development, Egyptian security forces shot dead two members of the Muslim Brotherhood group on Saturday in northern Egypt, according to Egypt's interior ministry.
In a statement, the ministry said the two were killed in an exchange of fire during a raid on a farm allegedly used to make explosives in the Nile Delta province of Beheira.
The ministry said five Brotherhood members have been detained during the raid. The ministry claimed that the farm was used to train members of Brotherhood-affiliated armed groups.
Saturday's deaths came one day after a Brotherhood member was killed in a "shootout" with security forces in northern Egypt.
The Cairo-based Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), for its part, described the deaths as "extrajudicial killings."
Once Egypt's best organized political group, the Muslim Brotherhood has been the subject of a harsh crackdown by the Egyptian regime since the military deposed Mohamed Morsi, the country's first freely elected president, in a 2013 coup.
The Egyptian authorities have designated the group a "terrorist" organization.
Since Morsi's ouster, thousands of Brotherhood members have been thrown behind bars and hundreds have been slapped with death sentences.
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