Freedom House is deeply troubled by the recent spate of sectarian violence between Egypt’s Muslim majority and Coptic Christian minority. Egyptian authorities must vigorously uphold the rule of law and prosecute those responsible for the attacks in courts that comply with international fair-trial standards.
A clash erupted last week in the village of Dahshur after a Christian laundry worker burned a Muslim’s shirt, prompting a fierce exchange of Molotov cocktails between the two groups. Tensions were rekindled on July 26, resulting in the looting and burning of a Christian home. Maaz Ahmed, a 25 year-old Muslim man, died on July 31 from severe burns.
Since 2007 Egypt has been increasingly plagued by sectarian violence. Tensions ratcheted up in 2011 when Muslims demolished churches in Imbaba and Itfeeh. The courts have yet to issue any firm ruling against the perpetrators of those attacks.
Egypt is rated Not Free in Freedom of the World 2012 and Freedom of the Press 2011.