Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to visit the newly restored 11th century Al-Hakim Mosque during his first visit to Egypt this week.

The historic mosque dates back to the Fatimid era when Egypt was ruled by the Shia Ismaili dynasty and was recently restored by the government in collaboration with India's Dawoodi Bohra community, a denomination within the Ismaili branch who have a rich legacy of commerce and overseas maritime trade.

The two-day state visit from 24 June was at the invitation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and will be the first bilateral visit by an Indian prime minister since 1997.

Modi is currently on an official visit to the US, where he commemorated the International Day of Yoga at the UN today. He is scheduled to travel to Washington DC to meet with President Joe Biden before travelling to Cairo. The timing of the visit follows recent reports that Egypt has applied to join the BRICS group, of which India is a key member.

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In January, Al-Sisi visited India following an invitation by Modi, where he was Chief Guest at the country's 74th Republic Day celebrations. The visit included discussions to enhance economic ties with New Delhi and to review investment opportunities in Egypt.

In a statement on his official website, Modi said: "These two visits in the span of a few months is a reflection of our rapidly evolving partnership with Egypt, which was elevated to a 'Strategic Partnership' during President Sisi's visit."

"I look forward to my discussions with President Sisi and senior members of the Egyptian Government to impart further momentum to our civilizational and multi-faceted partnership. I will also have the opportunity to interact with the vibrant Indian diaspora in Egypt," he concluded.

Despite Modi's visit to the mosque, India has witnessed a surge in Islamophobia over the years, under the Hindu nationalist government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 1992, the BJP oversaw the demolition of India's iconic and historic Babri Mosque, sparking nation-wide violence. A Supreme Court judgment in 2019 permitted the construction of a Hindu temple in its place which is nearing completion, with a new mosque allocated an alternative plot, which is yet to be rebuilt.

READ: Egypt's Grand Mufti makes official visit to India

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