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Egypt needs an inclusive process towards elections and better protections for religious minorities

5 July 2013

As Egypt enters a new political phase, the government of interim President Adly Mansour must strive to improve minority protection and put an end to instability by allowing all religious and ethnic communities to have a voice. In the move towards elections, a considered process will be needed giving all sections of society an equal and fair chance to mobilize and participate fully.

"One of the driving forces behind the demonstrations against President Morsi was the marginalisation of Egypt's minorities and increasing limitations on their rights", said Chris Chapman, Head of Conflict Prevention at Minority Rights Group International. "The political process now – including any constitutional review – should take into account the wishes and aspirations of all sectors of society".

The constitution establishes Islam as the state religion, states that the principles of Islamic law form the main source of legislation, and limits some freedom of religion rights to the three Abrahamic religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

On June 24, Four Shi'a were killed by an enraged mob in a village close to Cairo. Egyptian media reported that Salafist Imams had been inciting violence in the village for weeks, and that the police stood by doing nothing while the men were killed. Subsequently, after an outcry in Egypt and internationally, eight people were arrested in connection with the killings.

Civil society representatives at a workshop organised by Minority Rights Group last week called on the government to take strong action to stem a climate of religious intolerance, which, they said, was to blame for this and other recent acts of violence against religious minorities.

For more information contact:

Chris Chapman, MRG's Head of Conflict Prevention

T: +44 (0)7973 694529

E: [email protected]