Egyptians gather to buy subsidized sugar from a government truck after a sugar shortage in retail stores across the country in Cairo, Egypt, October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
CAIRO – 30 August 2018: Gamal Aboul Sorour, director of Al-Azhar International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research, condemned society's wrong beliefs concerning the human overpopulation issue.
Al-Azhar is the Islamic institution that officially represents Islam in Egypt.
During the Cultures Discussion Forum, organized by the Coptic Evangelic Organization for Social Services on Tuesday, Aboul Sorour urged religious institutions and civic society organizations in cooperation with the government to deal with the population issue.
The forum’s Tuesday meeting aimed at discussing the overpopulation problem as part of the efforts exerted by the Egyptian state to “renew the religious discourse”. The meeting was attended by religious leaders and a number of academics and media persons.
Aboul Sorour also urged scholars in Islamic institutions to prioritize addressing today's problems, including population issues, and pay them special attention exactly as they do with the religious discourse concerning worship.
The Islamic official argued that development plans would not be able to achieve their goals if attempts to deal with overpopulation failed.
For his part, Andrea Zaki, the head of the Protestant Community in Egypt, said that the meeting aimed at discussing the overpopulation issue from a cultural perspective, adding that such perspective is not less important than economic and social perspectives concerning the issue.
Zaki affirmed that such issue is one of the biggest challenges Egypt is facing. He said that the Coptic Evangelic Organization for Social Services has been keen on solving the overpopulation issue since the organization was established in the sixties, adding that the organization supports the state in all procedures the latter takes to solve the issue.
Many state officials consider overpopulation Egypt’s top threat as it continues to devour the state’s resources; thus leading to grave increases in poverty rates.
The number of Egyptians living inside the country hit 97.19 million early in 2018, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
“The population in Egypt is currently growing at a rate of 2.6 million individuals per year and the ministry is planning to raise awareness on family planning particularly contraceptive methods, with special focus on women in rural areas,” said Deputy Health Minister Tarek Mohamed Tawfik in a televised interview on January 15, 2018.
Cairo came as the most densely-populated governorate with 9.7 million people, followed by Giza which accommodates 8.8 million people, the agency said in a statement on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the World Day of Population.
Islamic efforts to fight the phenomenon
Ministry of Endowments set a plan in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Population to launch caravans, meetings and seminars raising awareness on population growth.
The Ministry of Endowments will hold a meeting next week to put the agenda and support it with its periodic publications.
In this regard, Minister of Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar requested Sheikh Mohamed al-Bastawisi, director of the ancient mosques department and coordinator of the raising awareness program, to set a plan for the caravans and a plan to educate the public through seminars and lectures.
Mokhtar also called for allocating a part of the Islamic weekly newspaper in Cairo called Minbar to humanitarian and population issues as well as family planning.
The Ministry of Endowments stressed that 100 imams will be requested to raise awareness on the dangerous population explosion in the targeted villages and hamlets as part of the plan’s first phase, and they will be trained on delivering lessons and seminars at mosques, health units and public places in this regard.
CAIRO – 16 January 2018: “The population in Egypt is currently growing at a rate of 2.6 million individuals per year and the ministry is planning to raise awareness of family planning particularly contraception methods.