Egypt parliament approves articles of law ‎establishing Supreme Council for ‎Combating Terrorism and Extremism

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 2 Apr 2018

The law seeks to forge a five-year national ‎strategy aimed at combating terrorism and ‎extremism

Egyptian Parliament (Reuters)
Egyptian Parliament (Reuters)

Egypt's parliament on Monday preliminarily approved all 20 articles of a new law establishing up the Supreme Council for ‎Combating Terrorism and Extremism ‎‎(SCCTE), modifying Presidential Decree ‎‎355/2017 which first regulated the council.‎

Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal ‎announced that the final vote on the law ‎will be postponed until a later meeting. "As ‎we lack two-thirds of MPs as required by ‎the constitution, I decide to postpone the ‎final vote to a later date," said Abdel-Aal.‎

Head of the Legislative and Constitutional ‎Affairs Committee and chairman of Al-‎Wafd Party Bahaa Abu Shoqa said ‎‎"the law aims to mobilize all the country's ‎forces not only to rid the country of terrorist ‎elements, but also to spread enlightenment ‎and contain extremist and radical ‎ideologies, particularly among people in ‎schools and universities."‎

Abu Shoqa explained that ‎after the council was established by a ‎presidential decree last June, it was found ‎out that it would be much better if it was ‎established through a law.

"This will make its ‎decisions binding and more effective," said ‎Abu Shoqa. ‎

Most MPs heaped praise on the law, ‎agreeing that it will help forge a national ‎strategy necessary to help the country's ‎battle against terrorism and extremism.

MP ‎Abdel-Fattah Mohamed said "Muslim ‎Brotherhood-affiliated elements are still ‎widespread in government sectors and ‎schools, and the role of the new council is ‎to strike with iron hand on these elements."‎

Article one of the law states that the council will forge ‎a national anti-terrorism and counter-extremism strategy ‎every five years.

"This strategy should ‎mobilize all the country's forces to combat ‎terrorism and extremism," reads the article, ‎adding that "the SCCTE's headquarters will ‎be located in Cairo."‎

Article two states that the council will be ‎led by the president and composed of 17 ‎members.

"The council will consist of the prime ‎minister, parliament speaker, grand sheikh ‎of Al-Azhar, Pope of the Coptic Church, ‎minister of defence, minister of religious endowments, ‎minister of youth and sports, minister of ‎social solidarity, minister of foreign affairs, ‎minister of interior, minister justice, minister ‎of telecommunications, minister of ‎education, and minister of higher ‎education," says the article, adding that "it ‎will also include chief of general ‎intelligence, head of the Administrative ‎Control Authority (ADA), and other public ‎figures who can contribute to SCCTE's ‎strategy."‎

Article four indicates that the council will ‎seek to achieve 14 objectives.

"It will ‎implement a national strategy capable of ‎containing extremism and terrorism every ‎five years," said the article, adding that "it ‎will coordinate with religious, security and ‎media institutions to spread moderate ‎religious thoughts, amend legislations in a ‎way that should help in the battle against ‎terrorism, and amend educational ‎curriculums to spread ideals of citizenship ‎and tolerance in schools and universities."‎

Article four also states that the council will ‎move to set up a regional coalition of Arab ‎countries interested in exchanging ‎information on terrorism and participating in the fight against terrorist elements and movements.

‎‎"The council will also move to take the ‎necessary legal measures against ‎countries supporting terrorist and extremist ‎movements, and stand up to hostile media ‎channels which broadcast from outside ‎and give cover to terrorist and extremist ‎movements," it reads.

Article eight states that a secretariat-‎general will be formed to prepare the ‎council's meetings and ensure that its ‎resolutions are implemented by state ‎authorities.‎

The law was referred to parliament early ‎this week.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi originally ordered the ‎creation of the SCCTE after meeting with ‎the National Defence Council following ‎terrorist attacks targeting Saint George’s Church in Tanta and Saint Mark’s Church ‎in Alexandria on Palm Sunday last year.

El-‎Sisi has already held two meetings with the council's ‎members to discuss the roots of extremism ‎and the necessity of forging a new strategy ‎to combat it.

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