Egypt: President Sisi Decries Religious Discrimination When Launching World Youth Forum

By Mohammed Nabil Helmi

Egyptian President Abdulfattah al-Sisi rejected on Saturday all forms of discrimination, extremism and racism, calling on world leaders and influential international institutions to cooperate to rid the world of conflicts, poverty, diseases and illiteracy.

He made his remarks during the launch of the second World Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh. More than 5,000 young men and women from 145 countries attended the event, as well as Nobel peace prize winner Nadia Murad.

Sisi said Egyptians reject crimes committed by extremist groups around the world.

He addressed Murad, the Yazidi human rights activist, who condemned terrorist organizations and expressed solidarity with Egypt in its war against terrorism.

“I tell Nadia, that the first recommendation of the forum would be a call on the world to acknowledge the crimes committed by ISIS and terrorist organizations,” he said.

Murad was kidnapped by ISIS with around 1,000 other Yazidi women and children from their village of Kojo in the Sinjar district of northern Iraq in 2014 before later escaping.

The UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake also attended the forum and said it was an opportunity for the world’s youth to meet and exchange ideas and expertise.

“The youth can contribute to changing and developing their countries through participation in projects and exchange of expertise,” she said, citing UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ launch of the UN Youth Strategy 2030.

This year’s forum revolved around a vision inspired by The Seven Pillars of the Egyptian Identity, a book by late Coptic writer Milad Hanna.

Milad’s son, Hany, delivered the opening remarks at the forum and said his father believed in the importance of respecting religious pluralism in society, considering it the foundation of a civil state governed by citizenship rights.

Hany said his father would have advised the youths of today to accept one another and honoring diversity.

Before launching the forum, Sisi met with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas and his accompanying delegation. Both men discussed the need to unify Palestinian ranks.


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