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Egypt 'deeply concerned' over rising discrimination against migrants, minorities in Europe: FM Shoukry

Ahram Online , Tuesday 31 Oct 2017
Sameh Shoukry
Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry delivers a speech during the Religious & Cultural Pluralism & peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East conference in Greece (Photo Courtesy of Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman)
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Egypt is "deeply concerned" over the rise of discrimination against migrants and minorities in Europe, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Tuesday.

He made the comments in Greece in a speech to the Second International Conference on "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East".

Shoukry voiced his concerns over the incitement and hatred that he said is spreading through both political and media discourse in Europe.

"Such acts give free victories to the advocates of hatred, as well as stimulating confrontations and polarization," Shoukry said.

The foreign minister also discussed the huge flow of migrants within the Middle East, which has spread to Europe.

"Despite the opportunities that are sometimes brought by such a flow, we have to admit the political, economic, social and cultural challenges faced by communities that receive migrants," he said.

"You must acknowledge that some countries in the region, including Egypt, achieved a victory for such human principles and endured great burdens amid limited support from the international community, which has turned away from this difficult situation," he added.

Egypt has said repeatedly that it currently hosts around 5 million refugees from Arab and African countries.

According to the UNHCR website's profile on Egypt, as of August, the country was hosting 187,838 registered refugees, mostly from Sudan, Syria and Libya, with the number of unregistered refugees believed to be much higher.

He also discussed the country's war against terrorism, citing the latest attack against security forces in Egypt's Western Desert, which killed 16 policemen.

"The Egyptian people are paying a huge price for this evil, which is trying to harm national unity and destroy the society's cohesion," he said.

He added that it was time for the international community to develop a clear and consistent stance against terrorism.

"The past years have proved that there is no country or region in the world that is safe from terrorism. I reiterate the necessity of cutting off funding, as well as political and military and logistic support, to terrorists," he said.

He accentuated the need for a comprehensive approach to combating terrorism, based on a strategy put forward by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during a US-Arab-Islamic Summit in Riyadh last May.

El-Sisi said the main components of any plan to defeat terrorism must be harmony and dialogue, as well as boosting understanding between religions.

Egypt has repeatedly called for the reform of religious discourse, describing it as a key issue for the Egyptian community and the Muslim world.

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