Did You Know...Attacks on Coptic Christians

...that since the June 30 large-scale protests in Egypt that led to the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, there has been an upsurge of attacks against Coptic Christians and that these attacks have resulted in several deaths and injuries?

According to a recent report published by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), at least 9 Copts, including a priest, have been killed since June 30, and dozens of Coptic churches, private homes, and businesses have been either looted or destroyed. Recent attacks have occurred in various parts of the country, including in Luxor, Minya, Marsa Matrouh, Port Said, and Sinai. Extremist clerics have inflamed much of the recent violence, using incendiary rhetoric inciting violence against and vilifying Copts. Egyptians human rights groups have found that extremists and some Morsi supporters have channeled vengeful anger at Copts because of their participation in the protests.

Copts suffered a similar fate of targeted violence in the weeks and months following the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. The plight of the Copts remains precarious, and did not improve during Morsi’s tenure. In fact, in some areas, conditions deteriorated for Copts and other religious minorities. USCIRF has concluded for years that sectarian violence against Copts, and the failure to convict those responsible, has fostered a climate of impunity that make further attacks more likely. This violence has been further exacerbated during political transitions and the upheaval associated with it.

For more details on religious freedom conditions in Egypt, see USCIRF’s findings in its most recent annual report chapter , including recommendations for U.S. policy.

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