The leader of one of Germany's Muslim organisations is to attend a Coptic Christmas Eve service on Thursday night, in a sign of solidarity with the nearly two dozen Egyptian Christians who were killed last week by a suicide bomber dpa reported
Catholic and Lutheran leaders in Germany had said earlier that they too would attend Coptic masses. Eastern churches like that of the Copts follow a different calendar from that used by western churches, meaning that Christmas is marked nearly two weeks later.
The Central Council of Muslims in Germany, or ZMD, said its chairman, Aiman Mazyek, is to attend the mass in the western city of Dusseldorf and meet with church leaders and worshippers.
ZMD, one of four national mosque organisations in Germany, is the most liberal and represents 300 ethnically mixed mosques of both Sunni and Shiite affiliation.
Mazyek is also to visit the Coptic bishop of Germany, Anba Damian, on Saturday in Frankfurt, then join a Catholic bishop at an inter- religious memorial service for the 23 Copts killed early on January 1 in Alexandria.
Nikolaus Schneider, chairman of the national council of Evangelical churches, had earlier said he would attend the Coptic Christmas mass in Dusseldorf too.
Catholic Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker of Paderborn, meanwhile, is to attend a Christmas mass at a Coptic monastery in northern Germany.
German police have stepped up protection for Coptic Christians after some were named last month in a death list issued by Islamic extremists.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a newspaper interview published on Thursday that Berlin will stand firmly behind Christian minorities abroad.