Monday,25 March, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1417, (8 - 14 November 2018)
Monday,25 March, 2019
Issue 1417, (8 - 14 November 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Determined against terrorism

Terrorists dealt another heavy, painful blow to Egyptians on Friday, brutally murdering innocent civilians who had just finished a visit to a famous Christian monastery in the desert of Minya in southern Egypt. This was not the first crime cowardly targeting Egypt’s Christians, seeing them as an easy, soft target whose killing would generate headlines worldwide and create the false impression that terrorists continue to pose a serious threat to Egypt’s security.

However, even though the victims this time were Coptic Christians, the real target was all Egyptians, especially that recent incidents proved that terrorists, such as members of IS and Al-Qaeda, consider all those who differ with them as enemies, while providing insane and absurd justifications to kill them in cold blood.

The terrorist group IS, that claimed responsibility for the crime in Minya on Friday, in which seven Christians were killed, including women and children, is the same group that proudly claimed the killing of more than 300 Muslim worshippers in a mosque in northern Sinai exactly a year ago. The suicide attacks and car bombs that the terrorists have used over the past few years do not certainly differentiate between a Muslim and a Christian.

Meanwhile, the timing of the attack against Egypt’s Christians in Minya could not have been a coincidence. Only hours after the attack took place, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi was scheduled to open the second “World Youth Forum” in Sharm El-Sheikh, hosting more than 5,000 young men and women from all over the world. While terrorists have nothing to offer but killing, blood and destruction, the Sharm El-Sheikh attendees were due to discuss how to revive and adhere to coexistence among the world’s cultures and religions.

Over three days, the world’s youth also discussed many challenges that faced them globally, regardless of their religion, ethnicity or background. This is not certainly an agenda that terrorist groups admire, because they can only thrive on creating divisions and deepening hatred among the world’s peoples and religions. Therefore, the proper response to the crime in Minya, despite all the pain and grief, was to go ahead with the Sharm El-Sheikh conference, depriving the terrorists of the chance to take credit for disrupting plans to host such a major international event.

Even before the conference started, and the ugly Minya crime had taken place, the threat of terrorism was high on the Youth Forum’s agenda, besides youth unemployment, environment and the influence of social media.

One of the key prominent guests of the forum was Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, the famous Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist who was taken hostage by the terrorist group IS in 2014 and forced into slavery and sexual violence by her captors. Murad, who was granted the Nobel Prize together with a Congolese doctor for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”, was personally praised by President Al-Sisi as a model of determination and courage.

Egypt needs no lessons in fighting terrorism on behalf of the entire world, being a victim of such inhumane and dark ideology for decades. In fact, the turnout of millions of Egyptians to take part in the 30 June 2013 uprising against the failed rule of the Muslim Brotherhood was a clear message on how Egyptians will not coexist with those who promote a fanatical and sectarian agenda.

Egypt will maintain relentless security measures to confront the threat of terrorism, knowing that this is not just a local phenomenon, but a threat that is being funded by other regional and international parties who have no interest in seeing stability or growth in this volatile region. Any objective observer will certainly admit the successes achieved on that front, judging by the clear decrease in the frequency of terrorist attacks. At the same time, Egypt’s people and government will use every possible forum to promote principles of tolerance and coexistence, knowing that defeating terrorism cannot be achieved by security measures alone.

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