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Egypt swears in first-ever Coptic Christian to head country’s high court

Egyptian Presidency Media Office via AP

Egypt on Wednesday swore in its first Coptic Christian to lead the country’s high court.

Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi swore in Judge Boulos Fahmy to preside over the Supreme Constitutional Court, according to The Associated Press. Fahmy is reportedly the nineteenth person to lead the court, which was created in 1969, and had led the court’s General Secretariat since 2014.

Judge Saeed Marei, who preceded Fahmy, retired because of health reasons, the AP reported, citing Mohammed Bassal, an Egyptian judicial affairs expert who also serves as editorial manager of the Shorouk Daily, a newspaper in the country.

Fahmy, 65, was selected from a group of the court’s five oldest judges, which is stipulated by law, according to the AP. A total of 15 judges sit on the court.

A large part of the Muslim majority in Egypt was pleased by Fahmy’s selection as chief judge, according to the AP.

Moushira Khattab — who leads the National Council for Human Rights, a body that is chosen by the government — said Fahmy as chief judge was “historic” and “a giant move” for political and civil rights, according to the AP.

Christians account for almost 10 percent of the population in Egypt, which has upwards of 102 million people. Members of the religious group, however, say they have been discriminated against by the Muslim majority.

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