Christian Entity Wants Egypt to Review Education Material “insulting” Non-Muslims

Rosh Hashanah celebrations at the Heliopolis Synagogue in Cairo. Credit: Facebook/JCC Cairo

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a UK-based human rights entity, is calling on authorities in Egypt to initiate reforms in the country’s education sector, including reviewing material that the entity says is insulting to non-Muslims.

In a Tuesday, September 19 report, CSW lauds the Northeastern African nation for taking significant steps towards ensuring that religious freedom in the country is adhered to, and notes that the country could do more, including overhauling its education sector.

The Christian entity expresses satisfaction that for the first time in 70 years, the Jewish community in Cairo was able to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, that was marked from September 15-17.

In the report, CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas says that the entity was “encouraged” at the development, lauding Egypt for taking “positive steps” in improving the situation for Jewish and Christian communities in the country.

He adds that what Egypt, which is predominantly Muslim with a 10 percent Christian population, is doing for the Jewish faithful should be extended to other religious groupings.


“We continue to call on the Egyptian government to advance freedom of religion or belief and equality before the law even further, by extending the constitutional rights enjoyed by Abrahamic religions to religious communities that are currently unrecognized, and to reform the education system by removing material insulting to non-Muslims from the existing curriculum,” Mr. Mervyn has been quoted as saying. 

CSW reports that the Rosh Hashanah celebration that was held at the Heliopolis Synagogue in Cairo, comes after “a number of positive initiatives taken by the Egyptian government towards the Jewish community.”

The country's education curriculum has, however, been criticized for “teaching division and discrimination,” and for fostering “intellectual extremism”.

Islam, which is purported to be at the basis of public education in Egypt, has been criticized for “promoting conservative Islamic values at the expense of religious pluralism and other faiths.”

Egypt has, since 2014, been mulling over the idea to introduce education reforms that will eliminate programs and courses that are perceived to incite religious violence, in an attempt to combat religious extremism.

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Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.