Exams in Egypt 'brainwashing' students about Saudi islands deal

Exams in Egypt 'brainwashing' students about Saudi islands deal
A translation exam in Egypt has turned political, prompting accusations of government attempts to 'brainwash' students about the concession of two islands to Saudi Arabia.
2 min read
03 Jun, 2016
Authorities at universities have expelled hundreds of students suspected of having Islamist sympathies [Getty/Twitter]

Images have emerged online of exam questions in Egypt that promote the government's recent controversial handover of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

The exam at the state-run al-Azhar university in the coastal city of Alexandria asked students to translate a passage that said the islands of Tiran and Sanafir have always belonged to Saudi Arabia and that Egypt had merely administered them while on lease since the 1950s.

"All mutual documents, treaties and communications as well as notes on the meetings of kings and heads of state since the days of king Farouk and Abdel Aziz, the founder of the Saudi state, as well as history books affirm that Tiran and Sanafir belong to Saudi Arabia," the exam paper read.

"In the 1950s during historic meetings between Farouk and Abdel Aziz in Mecca and Ishnas, Farouk agreed to protect the islands for his ally and to repel anyone who attempted to colonise them," it went on.

The government's surrender of the islands sparked the biggest street demonstrations since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi assumed power, protesters accused the general-turned-president of selling them in return for Saudi investments.

      Shocked students posted images of the exam online [Twitter]

More than 150 people were sentenced to jail in mid-May for their roles in the protests.

Rights campaigners accuse Sisi of crushing dissent since he led a military coup against his democratically elected Islamist predecessor Mohammad Morsi in 2013.

Under Sisi, authorities at universities have expelled hundreds of students suspected of having Islamist sympathies. Security forces have been stationed on campuses to hound and intimidate anti-government activists.

Shortly after pictures of the exam were posted on social media, many users expressed their anger at the government's attempt to "brainwash" young people.

Translation: "Tiran and Sanafir are 'Saudi islands' on a geography exam in Alexandria! They are teaching our children to renounce their land – what a joke."

Translation: "Mass communications exam at al-Azhar."

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