>> Pope Francis visiting Egypt on Friday to smooth things over with Islamic leaders and to support Christianity in a region where numbers are dwindling. The visit just three weeks after twin church bombings by Islamist militants killed 45 people, most of them Coptic Christians. He's once again ditching the homage Popemobile in favor of an ordinary car that brings him closer to the people.
Egyptianal authorities, though, are taking no chances, Cairo bristling with security ahead of the papal touch down, troops and police on streets and around churches. The pontiff meeting Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, who narrowly escaped the Palm Sunday bombing in Alexandria, as well as President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. But the main event, his meeting with the Grand Imam al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's most influential seat of learning.
Egyptian-Muslim leaders cut ties with the Vatican in 2011, accusing the last Pope, Benedict, of insulting Islam, although they were restored last year. Still as the Copt's live in fear of the next attack, the Pope's call for dialog and denunciation of violence in God's name is welcome to both Muslim and Christian leaders alike in Egypt.
Both sides condemn Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the church attacks as well as a cathedral bombing in December. Islamic State says it wants to rid the Middle East of Christians. Ancient communities already in decline for decades, wars in Iraq and Syria, and now Islamic State persecution, turning that trickle to a flood.