First Christian head of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court sworn in

Appointment of Boulos Fahmy is latest chapter in president's outreach to Christians

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi swears in Boulos Fahmy as the first Christian head of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court. AP
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Egypt’s president on Wednesday swore in the first Christian to head the Supreme Constitutional Court, one of the country’s top tribunals.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s appointment of Boulos Fahmy, 65, as SCC chief justice is the latest in a series of decisions by the Egyptian leader to reform the judiciary and make it more inclusive.

“The President has expressed to the new head of the Supreme Constitutional Court his best wishes in his work, devotion and in shouldering his responsibility to champion justice and implement the law,” the presidency’s media office said.

Mr Fahmy’s career in the judiciary stretches back to 1978 when he was appointed to the prosecution service. Later in his career, he became deputy chief justice of the SCC, chief judge at the court of appeals and technical adviser to the justice minister.

Mr El Sisi has championed the rights of women and Christians since he took office in 2014. He has called on Egypt's Muslim majority to be more tolerant of Christians and Jews.

Last year, Mr El Sisi, who heads the Supreme Judicial Council, allowed women to serve for the first time as judges on the State Council, a tribunal that rules on disputes involving the government.

Wednesday’s appointment of Mr Fahmy is also a continuation of the president’s outreach to Egypt’s large Christian community, which has long complained about discrimination but under Mr El Sisi has enjoyed unprecedented state support and tolerance.

Mr El Sisi is popular among Egypt's estimated 10 million Christians because he led the military’s removal in 2013 of president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been outlawed as a terrorist group.

Morsi’s year in office alarmed Christians, who feared persecution under his rule. Militants attacked Christians and scores of their places of worship in the days and weeks that followed Morsi’s removal.

Mr El Sisi has consistently attended Christmas Mass at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo or at the new capital in the desert east of the capital. He used the televised liturgies to assure worshippers of his firm belief that Muslims and Christians were equal in his eyes and those of his government and vowed to prosecute perpetrators of discrimination.

“Don’t let anyone come between us or sow sedition,” Mr El Sisi told worshippers during the most recent Christmas Mass. “May God help me to be an honest and trustworthy servant for the nation and you. Let me tell you this: this country is ours and it’s big enough for all of us.”

The Coptic Orthodox Church, Egypt’s largest Christian denomination, traces its origins to the first century, when the apostle Mark is said to have visited the country. Mark is regarded by Egypt’s Christians as the first Pope of Alexandria.

Updated: June 17, 2023, 7:15 AM