Faith tourism does not guarantee religious freedom in Egypt
Egypt has announced that it will develop the city of Saint Catherine in South Sinai with the goal of putting a neglected area on the international tourism map. Saint Catherine is north of Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular resort area for tourists.
A member of Egypt’s Parliamentary Committee on Tourism, Ahmed Idriss, said, “It can stand as a symbol of tolerance and coexistence between all religions and cultures.”
ISIS-affiliated extremists primarily drove Christian persecution. Christians who have tried returning home have instead died. In other parts of Egypt, the peaceful coexistence between various religious communities is constantly challenged, as could be observed at the recent mob attack against Christians in Dabous.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s history towards religious freedom since the rise of ISIS in 2014 includes many symbolic gestures.
The country did pass a law in 2016 which sought to streamline the church legalisation process, but a number of challenges remain within this process and no other steps have been taken to correct policies which persecute Christians, such as blasphemy laws.