Opinion| Egypt’s Ministry of Culture in face of terrorism

Kadry El Haggar
4 Min Read

The world is currently fighting a fierce war against ideological and intellectual terrorism. But the most important factor that helps overcome this crisis is awareness and the ability to take responsibility.

In these exceptional circumstances, security personnel act as the first line of defence, with the role of the media and art also no less important.

There is a direct relationship between intellectual development and terrorism, as the higher the rates of ignorance and lack of awareness, the higher the rates of terrorism. Ignorance is a fertile environment for the growth of terrorism.

This matter can be observed through the simple mapping of terrorism in Egypt, according to the standard of living and development in each region. Therefore, the cultural development carried out by the Ministry of Culture serves to develop those areas that had previously been deprived and neglected.

This shows the government is well aware that security is not sufficient to eliminate terrorist operations or extremist ideologies. Experience has also shown that there must be parallel solutions to the security solution, to ensure extremism is completely eliminated, especially as extremism is foreign to Egyptian society.

The Egyptian state is currently working to counter the negative effects of an absent intellectual development that previous governments overlooked. It has an interest in starting up cultural centres and palaces in villages and deprived areas.

The state has also given a large part of long and short-term development allocations to this goal, especially in Upper Egypt and the countryside. Great transformations have already taken place, particularly since Inas Abdel Dayem’s appointment as Minister of Culture at a time when the country was experiencing the most difficult circumstances.

A heavy burden was placed on the ministry, which is no less important than that placed on the army and police who fight terrorists, along with intellectual and ideological extremism. The Minister had to fight on two fronts, the first being women’s empowerment, with the second being the fight against extremist ideology in remote areas.

Abdel Dayem has acted as a role model, despite the many challenges she has had to face. This was evident from her first decisions, along with her ministry’s general trend in reviving cultural palaces and centres in villages.

The Ministry of Culture has paid great attention to the infrastructure of these centres and expanding their establishment. Under Abdel Dayem, the ministry has expanded its plans, moving away from its previous main focus on the capital and big cities only.

This is because the real forces of extremist ideology lie in small villages and the ability of extremist religious leaders to lead simple people, distort their ideas, and make them ticking bombs full of hatred towards society.

Abdel Dayem started raising community awareness, fighting extremist ideas, and promoting tolerance and peace, among other aspects. She has succeeded in bringing life back to these palaces and making them cultural and cultural centres capable of attracting the people of the villages and containing them and directing their activities in the right direction.

By Kadry El Haggar, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Al-Gomhoria newspaper and director of the Alexandria Festival of Francophone Cinema

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