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08/19/2019 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Egypt’s President Sisi has reinstated a known Salafist extremist leader, allowing him to deliver sermons at an Alexandria mosque despite heavy opposition because of his reputation for intolerance.

Opponents have voiced concerns that Sisi made this decision to discredit Muslim Brotherhood propaganda, which says that the president is waging a war against political Islam. Egypt is an officially Islamic country. Thus, this kind of propaganda is viewed as a serious threat to leadership.

Salafists maintain a strict version of Islam and are extremely hostile towards non-Muslims. The Salafist leader who was reinstated, Yasser Borhami, has a widespread reputation for controversial edicts. He encourages the idea that Christians are not full citizens of Egypt. He has promoted violent concepts towards women and other minority groups. As part of his reinstatement conditions, Borhami was given restrictions on what he can preach. However, few believe that he will comply.

Egypt holds the largest population of Christians in the Middle East. However, although Egypt purports to pursue religious freedom, Christians do not hold the same level of protections as Muslims. The sermons of radical Islamic preachers often lead to mob attacks targeting entire Christian communities. Often, rather than holding the mob and preacher responsible for the violence, the Christians are arrested or forced to make concessions.

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