Foreigners, Muslims then Christians: How Terrorism Compensation is paid in Egypt

Published November 28th, 2017 - 12:36 GMT
The Egyptian Military has faced criticism following the attack (AFP)
The Egyptian Military has faced criticism following the attack (AFP)
  • Families to receive  €9,474 ($11,278) in  government compensation
  • Egyptians injured during the attack will receive €2,368, ($2,819)
  • €98,298 ($117,016) awarded to the families of Mexican tourists accidentally killed in Egypt's Western Desert 
  • Christians killed earlier this year in Egypt received 50% of the compensation their Muslim compatriots did

The Egyptian government has valued the cost of each life lost in Friday’s terror attack at just over €9,000 ($10,699) - a fraction of the amount paid to foreign citizens killed on Egyptian soil. 

The governor of the North Sinai is set to provide just EGP 200,000 ($11,262.22) in compensation for each person killed and EGP 50,000 ($2,814.96) for each person injured in Friday’s brutal attack at the Al-Rawdah mosque in the village of Bir Al-Abed.

Up to 30 men in pickup trucks stormed the mosque during Friday prayers killing at least 305 Muslim worshippers and injuring more than 100 others.

At least 27 children were killed in the attack, the worst in the history of modern Egypt.

Many of those killed in the incident were providers for their families and the state will now provide food and psychological rehabilitation services for affected families for the next three months.

However, the amount of compensation being offered by the Cairo government to its own citizens is dwarfed by that offered to foreign tourists injured on Egyptian soil in the recent past. 

In the hours following Friday's attack, many locals told TV reporters that military personnel in the heavily fortified North Sinai zone were well within the earshot of the attack but failed to provide assistance as ISIS bullets rained down on the victims.

Many blame the state for failing to protect the victims, claiming that the powerful in Cairo put little value on the lives of people from a small village hundreds of miles from the Presidential Palace.

In 2016, the Federation of Egyptian tourism agencies paid €98,298 ($11,6851) each in compensation to the families of three of eight Mexican tourists killed accidentally by the Egyptian military in the country’s the Western Desert in 2015.

The figure is also substantially less than the €1.49bn ($1.77bn) figure sought by the relatives of the 2015 Metro Jet crash in Sinai, which killed 217 passengers.

It seems for the Egyptian government that the country’s own citizens are literally worth less than their foreign counterparts.

However, the latest stats show that there is the only one thing worse than a poor Egyptian Muslim in the eyes of the Cairo regime - a poor Egyptian Christian.

Christians were offered just 50% of the North Sinai payout sum following the April church bombings in Alexandria and Tanta earlier this year.

The government offered compensation of 100,000 EGP ($5,492) for each death in the attack.

Meanwhile, the lives of the 29 Christian victims of a terror attack on a bus in the Upper Egypt town of Minya were also valued at just 100,000 EGP ($5,492) by the Egyptian government.

The value of Egyptian life as set by the Cairo government is also shockingly low when compared to the £500,000 ($665,403) offered to U.K. citizens caught up in terror attacks abroad.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government paid around $38bn to the victims of the 9-11 attacks in the years that followed the Sept. 11 attacks. 

In recent days, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi issued strong rhetoric against terrorist elements on Egyptian soil.

He told citizens that the country’s military and police “will avenge our martyrs” and will respond “using brute force against those fragments of terrorists,” according to state media.

The government also launched airstrikes aimed at targeting terrorists in the North Sinai region.

However, many observers claim that until the government values the lives of its citizens, regardless of their religious creed, on par with those of foreign tourists then El-Sisi’s fight against terrorism may well land wide of the mark.

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