President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt has said Islam needs to change its discourse to fit a new world. He spoke in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, against the background of pervasive Islamic extremism and terrorism.
It’s a tolerant religion, he said, but in the past two to three decades it has become more associated with violent extremism.
“The terrible terrorist attacks which we have seen and this terrible image of Muslims is what led us to think that we must stop and think and change the religious discourse, and remove from it things that have led to violence and extremism,” El-Sissi said.
“We need a new discourse that will be adapted to a new world and will remove some of the misconceptions,” he said. “No one should believe that they have the truth with a capital T.”
“The blood that terrorists spill in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Mali, Canada, France or Lebanon is all of the same colour,” el-Sissi told the World Economic Forum in Davos, his first major speech in such a setting. “We must therefore mobilize all our efforts to eliminate the menace wherever it exists.”
The Egyptian president has faced international and domestic pressure, even from among allies, to ease his crackdown on protests and dissidents that has reached well beyond the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. He said Muslims must seek change from within.