Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (Reuters)
Egypt's youth must guard against false interpretations of religion being used to destroy nations, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told attendees during a World Youth Forum (WYF) session on Sunday.
El-Sisi delivered his message to the youth during a “Differences Among Cultures and Civilizations: Conflict or Integration?” session held in the main hall of the Conference Centre.
“Don’t let religion be used as a way to destroy nations through false interpretations and practices,” El-Sisi said.
He added that young people should take pride in their nationality and race but without provoking discord.
“Tolerate and interact with others, but don’t tussle with them,” he said.
El-Sisi also spoke of the various challenges faced by the Egyptian state, including youth employment.
"We’re talking about 60 million young people, with hundreds of thousands graduating each year from university. We want to create a large number of job opportunities to fill the gap of previous years. This is a major challenge,” he said.
El-Sisi said the state is doing its best to provide job opportunities for millions of young people, and society must also make serious efforts to achieve the goal.
“When we speak about plans and programmes executed by the state, the main goal is accomplishing a series of parallel successes to maximize the benefit. For example, when we speak about national projects, our central goal is to provide opportunities through such projects,” he said.
According to the president, the country’s newly announced national projects will provide 2-3 million job opportunities.
In October, Hala El-Saied, minister for planning and administrative reform, said Egypt’s latest projects and investments led to an 11.9 percent drop in unemployment in the fourth quarter of 2017, down from 12 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
Earlier on Monday, during a session titled “The Egyptian Experience in Building the Future”, El-Sisi spoke about those young people detained in Egypt pending trial.
“There were previous demands by young people to hold a review of youths jailed pending trial. We agreed that a youth committee would be formed to undertake such a review, in accordance with the constitution and law. And for my part, I was glad to sign such a review, in accordance with my powers,” El-Sisi said.
In October 2016, during a National Youth Conference session in Sharm El-Sheikh, El-Sisi announced the formation of a committee to review the cases of youth activists detained in political cases but not for violent offences.
Since then, hundreds of prisoners, some jailed for breaching the 2013 protest law, were released.
WYF to be held annually
El-Sisi said that Egypt will continue holding the WYF annually, as well as continuing to hold the National Youth Conference.
“They are a great platform that can’t be abandoned,” El-Sisi said.
The WYF, held in Egypt’s South Sinai resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, continues until 10 November.
November’s forum was first announced in July, during the country’s National Youth Conference in Alexandria, with El-Sisi also attending.