- Middle East/North Africa
Endowments Minister Talaat Afify rejected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's invitation to attend a conference at the end of January to celebrate Prophet Mohamed's birthday.
Ministry spokesperson Salama Abdel Qawy said the ministry does not participate in Shia celebration inside or outside Egypt, nothing that the imams of the Hussein and Sayeda Zeinab mosques received invitations to participate in Shia celebrations in Lebanon, but the minister declined.
Afify met in the Iranian representative in Cairo in his office Monday, when the Iranian official invited him to attend the 26th International Conference of Islamic Unity, which is scheduled for 27–29 January in Tehran.
But Afify stressed the country's aspirations toward closer cooperation with Arab and Islamic countries to spread the correct concepts of Islam, despite differences in beliefs, and to coexist and keep mutual respect and faith in dialogue.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm