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.
Prisoners of belief individuals jailed under blasphemy laws in several countries
Many countries around the world have laws that punish expression deemed blasphemous, defamatory of religion, or contemptuous or insult- ing to religion or religious symbols, figures, or feelings. In addition, some states have added new blasphemy-type laws to their criminal codes or constitutions. The application of these laws has resulted in the jailing of individuals for merely expressing a different religious belief or under false accusations.
Prior to his removal, President Morsy’s Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government had shown disregard for rights protections, with an increase in the prosecutions of journalists, police abuse, and sectarian violence. In December 2012, 33 percent of eligible voters (the lowest turnout for any poll since the 2011 uprising) approved Morsy’s controversial new constitution by 64 percent in a referendum. The constitution further undermined key rights protections following Morsy’s November 2012 Constitutional Declaration which immunized his decisions from judicial review. Legislation issued by the Shura Council, Egypt’s interim legislative body following the June 2012 dissolution of the People’s Assembly, included deeply restrictive draft public assembly and draft associations laws.
Summary: The Egyptian Orthodox Christian community—the Copts—has been the tar- get of violence and discrimination since the 1970s and especially following the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian state has done little to remedy the situation and has at times enabled the conflict between Muslims and Christians. Achieving religious freedom and equality depends on building state institutions that can guarantee all citizens’ constitutional rights.
Coptic Solidarity is a U.S. public charity organization under section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are deductible under Section 170 of the Code.
Coptic Solidarity 2014 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28, 2014.