Respect for religious freedom remained poor during the year under both former President Mohamed Morsy’s administration and the current interim government. On July 3, Mohamed Morsy was removed and Adly Mansour was named interim president.
In 2013, the world witnessed the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory. In almost every corner of the globe, millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs. Out of fear or by force, entire neighborhoods are emptying of residents. Communities are disappearing from their traditional and historic homes and dispersing across the geographic map. In conflict zones, in particular, this mass displacement has become a pernicious norm.
SamerKamilYacub was alone when four Islamist militants carrying AK-47s arrived at his front door and ordered him to leave the city, Qaraqosh.
The 70-year-old Christian had failed to comply with a decree issued by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Yacub's hometown of Mosul had boasted a Christian community for almost 2,000 years. But then the al Qaeda-inspired fighters who overran the city last month gave Christians an ultimatum. They could stay and pay a tax or convert to Islam -- or be killed.
The U.S. Department of State released on Monday its 2013 International Religious Freedom Report highlighting various countries whose governments repress religious freedom, including China, North Korea and Iran, among others.
With global hostility toward religion on the rise, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced legislation to amend the Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to strengthen the United States’ role in monitoring and responding to violations of religious freedom throughout the world.
Virginia Republican congressman Frank Wolf accused the Obama administration of ignoring the genocide of Iraqi Christians Thursday, saying that "Christianity as we know it in Iraq is being wiped out."
Bassem Khafagi, Former Community Relations Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and A Founder of Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA) – Who In 2003 Was Convicted In U.S. and Deported – Says In His Presidential Campaign in Egypt: I Pledge To 'Complete Implementation of Islamic Law'
In statements televised on March 12, 2012 on the Egyptian Al-Nas TV, Egyptian presidential candidate Bassem Khafagi said: "[A]s a Muslim Egyptian, I am convinced of [the need to] complete the implementation of Islamic law in Egypt. I do not hide this truth in any way, because it is in keeping with the inclination of the Egyptian people." He added, "As president, I will personally assist in the completion of the correct implementation of the shari'a, by consulting the experts [in Islamic law]."
Khafagi was sentenced in September 2003 in the U.S. to 10 months in prison and deported to Egypt, after pleading guilty to two counts of bank fraud and one count of visa fraud. He had been charged with funneling money to promote terrorist activities through the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA). At the time of his arrest, Khafagi was also community affairs director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
According to the FBI, Khafagi was a founding member and former head of the IANA. Federal prosecutors said that the group's objective was the "dissemination of radical Islamic ideology, the purpose of which was indoctrination, recruitment of members and the instigation of acts of violence and terrorism." Federal investigators said the IANA has funneled money to activities supporting terrorism and has published material advocating suicide attacks on the United States. The IANA said it was formed to promote Islam.
Khafagi was one of four former or current students at the University of Idaho at Moscow, ID and at Washington State University at Pullman, WA who were arrested in 2003 during an investigation of a suspected terrorist-related network in the Moscow-Pullman area.
According to school records, Khafagi earned a master's degree in civil engineering in August 1988 at the University of Idaho. After working as a teaching assistant and taking postgraduate classes there, he enrolled at Michigan State University, earning a doctorate in civil engineering in 1993. He later lived in Ann Arbor, Mich., operating a business called International Media Group from his home, court documents showed; according to the documents, it was not clear what kind of business it was.
Following are excerpts from statements by Egyptian presidential candidate Khafagi that aired on Al-Nas TV on March 7, 2012: To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/3356.htm
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 4571—Egypt
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Coptic Solidarity 2014 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28, 2014.