Egypt’s New Agency to Tackle Sectarianism

12/31/2018 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s current president, has decreed that the government will create an agency tasked with tackling sectarian issues. The new Supreme Committee for Confronting Sectarian Incidents is composed of members from the military, intelligence, the National Security Service, and Administrative Oversight Agency. The President’s advisor for security and combatting terrorism will lead the new committee.

The committee’s purpose is to devise a strategy to prevent sectarian tensions and a mechanism for addressing these incidents. In Egypt, community tensions between Muslims and Christians is often labeled as sectarian. Most Egyptian Christians live in Minya, where Christians make up nearly 50% of the population. Hardline Muslim extremists often use any provocation to attack Christians living in their community. Recent incidents have also shown that the police will sometimes even be the instigator in these attacks.

It is also worth noting that Christians are regarded as second-class citizens in Egypt, which is officially an Islamic country although the constitution alleges to protect the rights of Christians. However, although most of the Middle East’s Christians live in Egypt, they are given few opportunities to take an active role in their own government. This new committee, while a positive step forward, will have limited success if Christians are not allowed to be regarded as equals in their own country.

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