Violence in Egypt against Coptic Christians has continued despite the fall of former president Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, with believers still facing abductions and the government seizing their property, the Board of Inquiry in Cairo reported.
The report, according to Fides News Agency, shows that Copts, who make up close to 10 percent of the population, are continuing to face “endemic forms of violence and abuse” in many parts of Egypt, particularly in the governorates of Luxor, Sohag and Aswan.
“The worrying scenario has been reconstructed in detail on the basis of meetings with community representatives, civil society organizations and material provided which witness this phenomena of violence,” Fides reported.
Christians have been heavily targeted in Egypt following the fall of Morsi last July, with Islamic extremists blaming them for supporting the protests that led to the change in government. Believers were killed, and Christian churches, bookstores and orphanages were burned down in violent attacks.
U.S. politicians have spoken out against this violence, with Republican Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) urging the U.S. State Department in October to help stop the sectarian violence and the persecution of Copts.
“Egypt’s Christian minority and their ability to worship are in danger. The situation warrants a clear U.S. response. We are especially troubled by reports that Egyptian authorities have failed to respond to attacks on Christians and churches, or hold perpetrators accountable,” the senators wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry.
“It is our view that Egypt is part of a broader trend: religious freedoms throughout the Middle East and South Central Asia, particularly for Christians, are under assault. The U.S. must respond to this challenge and continue to be a forceful defender of religious freedom throughout the world.”
The Egyptian government has been cracking down on Muslim Brotherhood supporters since the fall of Morsi, who is awaiting trial for his part in anti-government clashes. On Monday, a court sentenced 529 Brotherhood supporters to death for killing a policeman and for their role in the unrest.
Human rights lawyers have called the ruling “over the top” and “unacceptable,” however.
“It turns the judiciary in Egypt from a tool for achieving justice to an instrument for taking revenge,” said lawyer Mohamed Zarie, who heads the Arab Penal Reform Organization rights center in Cairo.
“This verdict could be a precedent both in the history of Egyptian courts and perhaps, tribunals elsewhere in the world.”
© 2014 Assyrian International News Agency.