Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt’s top Islamic institution, has called for radical reform in religious teaching. Facing the growing dangers of Islamic militant groups such as ISIS, el-Tayeb states that Islamic extremism stems from intolerance and incorrect interpretations of the Koran. Influential religious and political figures, including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisir of Egypt, are calling for unity among Muslims to fight terrorism in the region.During an anti-terror conference, both el-Tayeb and al-Sisir expressed the need for a Pan-Arab movement against terrorism and radicalism. Furthermore, the president asked other Arab countries to join military forces with Egypt to protect the region. He added, “We will be able to overcome such challenges when we unite together.” Countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have already offered their support after the execution of 21 Egyptian Christians this month.
While the president believes the solution lies with military action, Sel-Tayeb emphasizes the importance of Islamic educational reform. During the conference he stated, “The only hope for the Muslim nation to recover unity is to tackle in our schools and universities this tendency to accuse Muslims of being unbelievers.” Saudi Arabia’s King Salman was in attendance and fully supported the statement.
The only effective way to combat ISIS is through the unity of the Pan-Arab peninsula. Countries such as the United States and France can offer support and weapons, but ultimately the job must be done through Arabic military and social reform. Egypt has shown it is ready and willing to combat terrorism on all fronts. If they successfully spur reform in their own country and garner support from others, there is certainly hope ISIS will be eliminated.