EIPR Launches Anti-Sectarianism Campaign in Egypt... An Appeal for Collective Action to Strengthen Citizenship and Shared Existence

Press Release

11 October 2010

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) launched a new advocacy campaign to combat sectarianism in Egypt under the slogan, "Reject Sectarianism". The organization said that the campaign is a joint movement and an appeal for collective action to eliminate sectarianism and strengthen the values of equal citizenship and shared existence in our common nation without religious or faith-based discrimination.
“While the movement is being launched by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights as part of our ongoing efforts to defend equality and freedom of religion and belief, we realize that it cannot be successful if it remains ours alone," said Hossam Bahgat, the executive director of the EIPR. "We firmly believe that this campaign will not meet with success unless it becomes a voice for Egyptians who believe that we are all in this together and those united by a common fear for our future due to rising social divisions, sectarian tension and a mindset that divides the country into an ‘us’ and a ‘them.’ At the same time, we believe many people are hopeful about the possibility of ending sectarianism and working together to build a country that upholds all citizens’ right to equality and dignity,” he continued.

The campaign will involve several ongoing activities and actions, among them the production, screening and distribution of media materials and short public service announcements on the concept and dangers of sectarianism and its manifestations in our daily lives. These will be available for viewing on our YouTube page. There will also be a blog on which one can follow and join the campaign, as well as a Facebook page to allow supporters of the campaign to keep up with the news, express their opinions and take part in the debate.

As part of the campaign, the EIPR has also released an interactive map showing in detail the incidents of sectarian violence and tension since January 2008 and their geographic distribution around the country’s governorates. Visitors to the map site will also be able to see the chronology of incidents, their causes and types, based on information found in a report issued by the EIPR’s Freedom of Religion and Belief Program. The map site will also allow visitors to report any incidents of sectarian violence.

The campaign will also sponsor proposals for action that will allow individuals to support the struggle against sectarianism and fight it in their daily lives and in their own particular environments.