The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) and Eshhad are pleased to announce that after two years of a successful incubation and partnership, Eshhad has incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in the District of Columbia as Eshhad: The Center for the Protection of Minorities. Over the past four years, Eshhad has documented and researched sectarianism in an effort to provide a crucial tool to understanding the roots of sectarian violence in Egypt. Since its inception in August 2013, Eshhad has documented over 500 incidents in Egypt that have victimized religious minorities. Now, as the project continues to grow, Eshhad is expanding its research into Iraq and Syria along with its mandate to engage in litigation and various other legal support services.
With the increasing complexity of sectarian violence in the Middle East, as well as the political and social changes, the need to track the problem has increased. The region’s religious minorities are continually being subjected to sectarian hostility and often find themselves at the cross-section of terrorist violence and government-led counter-terrorism efforts. Eshhad’s mission has been to provide decision-makers, researchers, and journalists with important information on the nuances and intricacies of the sectarian crisis facing religious freedom or belief in the Middle East, from sectarian bombings and killings perpetrated by the Islamic State to the legal infrastructures allowing sustained religious discrimination in education or employment.
Eshhad will continue to feature its database and a map that geo-references the recorded incidents that are collected from publicly available information. In addition to the database and map, Eshhad will continue to provide a variety of resources, including minority profile briefs, issue briefs, special briefings, and various reports highlighting trends and statistical information. Eshhad will also begin to provide legal services to support asylum cases, provide legal analysis for ongoing litigation, and litigate cases in the United Nations.
TIMEP and Eshhad will continue to partner together in furtherance of our shared mission to ensure that the voices of local actors and organizations in countries undergoing political transitions across the region are taken into account within policymaking communities in the United States and Europe. Through its propaganda channels, the Islamic State has vowed to target Egypt’s Christians, killing scores of worshipers in bombings at cathedrals in the past months (including the main Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo), attacking pilgrims as they traveled to a holy site in May, and causing massive forced displacement of Christians in Arish. Egyptian government restrictions on reporting, efforts to prevent access to displaced communities, and the closure of media and civil society create serious obstacles for access to reliable information on these developments. TIMEP and Eshhad’s future collaborations will remain an important source of information in the interest of promoting policies that address the threat of violence, while promoting the respect of essential rights and freedoms as both inherently valuable and imperative to long-term security and stability.
Amira Mikhail and Mai El-Sadany founded Eshhad in August 2013 and the project will continue under Amira’s leadership as it expands its vision and mandate. For more information on Eshhad’s history and vision, please refer to our About Us. While Eshhad develops a new website, its current website at eshhad.timep.org will be maintained. Should you wish to be notified of Eshhad’s new website or if you want to receive Eshhad’s updates, please subscribe here. You can also contact Amira at email@example.com for any inquires regarding Eshhad.