In Selected Opinion


You’ve hailed [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi as a lion, I believe, as a Muslim Churchill. Why is that, given all the human rights abuses going on on his watch.

Well, first of all I think the human rights abuses are a much more complicated phenomenon than just the rise of Sisi. Egypt has been under what is essentially Pharaonic-style rule for more than 5,000 years. And has an extraordinarily harsh and despotic military government running things behind the scenes, despite elections, despite the rise of Sisi, who I think is not personally at the same level of brutality or harshness. As a human being, I don’t think he’s that sort of person, but I don’t think that he controls – or is he taking enough interest in controlling? – these sort of abuses.

He’s focusing on a struggle against two things: One, the Islamists, who are a global threat to impose the same sort of things on everyone – their harsh rule. And, he is also focusing on improving relations between Christians and Muslims, which really deteriorated under the Islamists [of deposed President Mohamed Morsi], particularly – they were already deteriorating under [former President Hosni] Mubarak, but they got much worse under Morsi.


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