After the bombing of two churches in April, the Egyptian government wants to prevent violent radicalization by forcing Islamic institutions to reform. The largest Islamic institution is Al-Azhar, whose imam, Ahmed el-Tayeb, has often called for violence to establish an Islamic state. However, Huff Post researchers have found that formal Islamic institutions are not the way most youth in Egypt become radicalized, instead, political frustration leads youth to seek out violence as a means for change. These young people turn to the internet and other sources to give them the religious ideology to back their use of violence. If the Egyptian government truly wants to stop religious violence against Coptic Christians then it should have a better understanding of what causes radicalization among its youth population.
2017-05-23 Egypt (Huff Post) –Deadly attacks on two churches in the Egyptian cities of Tanata and Alexandria in April, during which at least 44 Coptic Christians were killed, have pushed extremist terrorism in Egypt back in the spotlight. And Islamic institutions are feeling the pressure.
Many people have cast blame on one of the country’s oldest religious institutions, al-Azhar, a renowned Sunni centre of learning and research. Critics say its grand imam, Ahmed el-Tayeb, should have done more to confront Salafi jihadism, which calls for the use of violence to establish an Islamic state.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has several times pointed to the importance of formulating a more public response by religious bodies against radical Islamic philosophies. In January 2015, for instance, he leaned on the Al-Azhar centre to undertake what he called a “religious revolution” to reform the institution’s Islamic thought and correct the concepts it teaches.