As the debate continues between the ministries and various education experts, we wonder; can religion and the state actually ever be separated in Egypt?
The minister of endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa suggested that religion in schools could be replaced with ethics and principles, which in turn might help curb religious extremism, Al Mesreyoon reports. Gomaa has been inconclusive about his remarks, and perhaps he was merely throwing out a suggestion, but since then, there has been a back and fourth between education experts and the ministry. Can religion and the state ever be separated?
According to Parlamany, human rights committee member Mohamed Elkawmy said that removing religion from the curriculum will actually create a hypersensitivity surrounding the topic. He also added that schools should not let go of such a vital societal constituent, whether it’s Islam or Christianity.
This isn’t the first time removing religion from schools has come up in the media, and as usual it has caused a stir among the public. Egypt is an Islamic country, and will always remain that way, people will argue. But Egypt is also seeing an increasing level of religious extremism, which some see as an indication that religious education is not properly conducted or is flawed.
As the government continues to assess how to combat religious extremism, another proposal has emerged to actually combine ethics and principles with religious studies in a bid to regulate the debated subject.