Morale: Crime And Religious Obligation In The Egyptian Army


March 23, 2016: The 450,000 personnel in the Egyptian military are having morale problems because of the growing popularity of conservative Islam. Since 2013 that has led to growing violence by Islamic conservative troops against less religious Moslems and especially against non-Moslems. This had led to beatings, brawls and at least six cases where non-Moslem troops died in what was reported as suicides but many believed it was murder.

Egypt's considerable Coptic Christian minority has long been grossly underrepresented, and often mistreated, within the Egyptian Army. Copts are often singled out for discrimination by the police and public in civilian life, but beatings, ill-treatment, and sometimes outright torture are becoming increasingly common against army conscripts by Islamic conservative troops. Sometimes these beatings are motivated by a desire to force Copt recruits to convert to Islam, sometimes they occur just out of discriminatory attitudes.

Copts are about ten percent of the population and have maintained their Christianity for nearly 2,000 years. The recent increase in violence dates back to the 2011 revolution. While not responsible for that revolution the Moslem Brotherhood took advantage of it and managed to get a likeminded politician elected to run the country. That did not last long and the Islamic president was ousted in 2013. One of the reasons for this popular opposition to Islamic conservatism was growing violence by members of the Moslem Brotherhood. This group openly demands that the Copts should get out of Egypt or convert to Islam. Since 2013 over a hundred churches have been attacked by Brotherhood supporters and thousands of Christians injured. The Moslem Brotherhood members responsible for this consider themselves Islamic moderates and condemn Islamic terrorism. They don’t consider violence against Copts or other non-Moslems as a crime, but a religious obligation.


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