Egypt’s New Church Law Discriminates Against Christians

0
474
discrimination-against-christians-in-egypt
discrimination-against-christians-in-egypt

Egypt has an estimated population of nine million Christians. Mostly Orthodox Copts, they account for about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population, which is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim.

On August 30, 2016, a long-awaited new law passed by Egypt’s parliament, which applies only to Christian houses of worship, maintains restrictions over the construction and renovation of churches and discriminates against the Christian minority in Egypt.

“Many Egyptians hoped that governments would respect and protect freedom of religion, including for Christians, after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead, the authorities are ignoring the underlying systemic issues and sending a message that Christians can be attacked with impunity.”

The website of Al-Youm al-Sabaa newspaper published the law and explanatory memo on August 30.

The new law allows governors to deny church-building permits with no stated way to appeal, requires that churches be built “commensurate with” the number of Christians in the area, and contains security provisions that risk subjecting decisions on whether to allow church construction to the whims of violent mobs.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged to respect freedom of belief and made

Egyptian Coptic Christians attend a mass in the rubble of a makeshift chapel that was torched a few months ago during clashes in the Egyptian village of Ismailia, in the Minya governorate, some 300km south of the capital of Cairo.
Egyptian Coptic Christians attend a mass in the rubble of a makeshift chapel that was torched a few months ago during clashes in the Egyptian village of Ismailia, in the Minya governorate, some 300km south of the capital of Cairo.

important visits to Coptic Christmas masses. Authorities, however, have failed to protect Coptic Christians from violent attacks and instead enforced “reconciliation” sessions with their Muslim neighbors that deprive them of their rights and allow attackers to evade justice. In some cases, Christians were obliged to leave their homes, villages or towns.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here