18/06/2022 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Egyptian author Salwa Bakr recently spoke out about the education system saying it was dominated by “terrorist organisations” in an interview with Ten TV. Bakr says that since the 1970s, under former President Sadat, the education system has provided the “cultural and ideological ground” for Islamic State terrorists.
The Egyptian author took the floor saying, “Unfortunately, so far we have only confronted terrorism with the security forces. However, in my opinion, the cultural confrontation is the most important, because it begins with education. She went on to say, “When you allow college girls to be forced to wear hijab, when you stop teaching sports, music, drawing and dancing in school… By doing all these things, you are preparing the cultural and ideological ground for a person who could become an ISIS terrorist.
Conversely, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (the highest institution of Sunni Islam in the world), Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, said last month that the West was responsible for Islamic terrorism. He spoke at a May 25 rally in Cairo saying:terrorism is a political and not a religious manifestation.” He continued, “terrorism was created by various Western political regimes which spread it around the world, linking it with Judaism, Christianity and Islam for complex gains and agendas.”
Overall, the Sheikh has always presented two contrasting faces, one to the West and the other to the Muslim world. The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies wrote in 2016 that the Sheikh, “adopts two contradictory discourses, one of which is open, oriented towards external export, and the second supports violent extremism, oriented towards internal consumption.” In a perfect example of this disconnect, in 2016 the sheikh appeared on Egyptian television and promoted Islam’s apostasy laws, which severely punish Muslims who convert to other religions. A few days later, he spoke in front of the German parliament, saying that the Koran guaranteed religious freedom.
The recent increase in violent incidents against Christians in Egypt, most recently in early June when a Christian was brutally murdered, signals the need to be vigilant against inflammatory religious rhetoric and cautious about any means likely to promote such ideologies. Christian children also face serious disadvantages already in their education, a cycle that International Christian Concern (ICC) hopes to break by using the Hope House education center model to revitalize and restore communities.
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