In a truly groundbreaking speech made shortly before the terror attacks in Paris, Egypt’s General-turned-President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that Islam was, “…in need of a religious revolution.”

In response to the tragic events, he condemned the the slaughter that left 12 dead on Wednesday and pledged Cairo’s support to fight terrorism.

The Egyptian leader expressed his condolences to his French counterpart Francois Hollande, the families of the victims and the wounded, his office said in a statement. Sisi, in a telegram sent to Hollande, “expressed the Egyptian people and government’s condemnation over the terrorist act that the French capital Paris witnessed today,” the statement said.

Offering his condolences to the victims’ families and the wounded, Sisi said “terrorism is an international phenomenon that should be faced and terminated through joint international efforts”.

Historically,  Egypt and France have always been important to each other.  For example, when Napoleon sent an expedition over to that country,it reopened  the area to trade with Europe and made it possible to uncover its rich history. Last November, Sisi was greeted with full military honors when he visited Paris.

Based on these recent developments, Washington Times columnist Charels Ortel suggests that Egypt may be able to lead the way to victory in  “War on Terror”.  Ortel cites both Sisi’s extremely aggressive actions in ending the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Reign of Terror” in that country and efforts to assure targeted religious minorities that they will be protected.

Recently this year, the fully engaged leader of Egypt began a drive to reform Islam from within.

His address to religious authorities at Al-Azhar University in Cairo on Jan. 1 is a stunning “must-read” and “must-share” development that only now is getting attention it so richly deserves.

Wednesday, President el-Sisi put in a public appearance at a Christmas mass in Cairo-an historic first in Egypt’s modern history.

Working with allies including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, el-Sisi is channeling foreign capital into a raft of development programs that may finally spark economic progress inside Egypt, while cutting off external funding from states such as Qatar who until recently had been supporting the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide.

Sisi was the first Egyptian President to visit a Coptic Church since Nasser, and this minority religion has been badly brutalized by Islamic extremists for the last several years.

Now, the Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch is on his way to Egypt, as Sisi continues the religious outreach.

Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch Mathias I landed in Cairo early Saturday on his first visit to Egypt.

Mathias I, who is to stay for six days, came to Egypt heeding an invitation from Pope Tawadros II.

The Egyptian and Ethiopian churches have played a role in smoothing negotiations between the two countries regarding the Grand Renaissance Dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile.

Cairo has been concerned the dam could have an adverse effect on Egypt’s water supply.

I suspect it is only a matter of time before Pope Francis visits the Land of the Nile.   In fact, in 2013, Pope Francis invited the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt the Vatican, which as in the first such meeting at the Vatican in 40 years.

Sisi also met Pope Francis at the Vatican, during his visit to Italy this November.

Al-Sisi and the Pope also discussed “themes of common interest”, with a focus on Egypt’s role in “promotion of peace and stability in the Middle East and North Africa”. Francis stressed “dialogue and negotiation are the only options to put an end to the conflicts and to the violence that endanger defenceless populations”.

One can only hope that the former general now successfully carries the baton of leadership in the fight against radical Islamic terror.