Christian group concerned by Ahmadinejad’s historic visit to Egypt

( Christians United for Israel (CUFI) issued a “Prayer Alert” in response to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad becoming the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution that frayed relations between the regional powers.

Ahmadinejad landed in Egypt on Tuesday and met with Egyptian leaders and religious scholars.

On its official Facebook page, CUFI asked users to pray that a “strong Iranian-Egyptian relationship does not destabilize the balance of power in the Middle East.”

The visit by Ahmadinejad comes amid turmoil and deep mistrust in the region between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims that may complicate efforts to improve Iranian-Egyptian ties. Sunni Muslim powers, spearheaded by oil rich states in the Gulf, are concerned with Shi’a Iran’s nuclear ambitions and support for both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. Adding to the tension is the millennia-old theological rift between the different sects of Islam, which was highlighted by Ahmadinejad’s cold reception at Cairo’s historic al-Azhar mosque by Sunni religious leaders. 

“The restoration of full relations with Iran in this period is difficult, despite the warmth in ties... because of many problems including the Syrian crisis and Cairo’s links with the Gulf states, Israel and the United States,” said a former Egyptian diplomat, Reuters reported.

Nevertheless, the prospect of warming relations is worrisome for Israel. Before the trip Ahmadinejad told the Lebanese TV station Al-Mayadeen, that the “political geography of the region will change if Iran and Egypt take a unified position on the Palestinian question,” adding that he wishes “to pray in Jerusalem after complete liberation,” according to Reuters.

Posted on February 3, 2013 .