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Egypt's Coptic church criticized over el-Sissi rallies at UN

  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi looks at his notes after speaking at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi looks at his notes after speaking at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)  (The Associated Press)

  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi speaks during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi speaks during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)  (The Associated Press)

Egypt's Coptic Christian church is facing criticism over its role in organizing rallies in support of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during his visit to the U.N. General Assembly.

Egypt's Christian minority has strongly supported el-Sissi since he came to power following the military's overthrow of an Islamist president in 2013.

But this week dozens of prominent Christians released a statement expressing concern about the church's deepening involvement in politics.

El-Sissi traveled to New York with a large delegation of loyal parliamentarians and media figures. The visit is partially aimed at improving Egypt's image after it has come under criticism from rights groups and Western nations over a sweeping crackdown on dissent.

El-Sissi conferred on the sidelines with foreign leaders as well as U.S. presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.