Egypt’s Sectarian Committee to Combat Sectarianism

Source: The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy
Author(s): Timothy E. Kaldas
Original Link:

In late December, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi announced the formation of a committee to combat sectarianism in Egypt. On its face, Sisi’s decision is welcome, especially after a series of violent incidents aimed at Coptic Christians in the last two months of 2018. Often state officials have sought to deny or belittle the problem of sectarianism in Egypt, suggesting that apolitical sectarian incidents are personal disputes in which the faith of the protagonists are irrelevant to the conflict. At other times officials have insisted that incidents came as a result of foreign actors (even veering into conspiracy theories). When the government has recognized sectarianism as an issue it is almost always when incidents can be clearly blamed on known terrorist organizations. Any attempt by the state to recognize the conflict that frequently occurs between Copts and Muslims and to reduce the sectarianism present in Egyptian society would be welcome. However, the proposed composition of the committee reveals that the state is more concerned with symbolic gestures than systemic solutions.

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