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US State Department's International Religious Freedom Report – Poor Respect for Religious Freedom in Egypt

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.The 2012 constitution, in effect until its suspension on July 3, stipulated “freedom of belief is an inviolable right,” but only guaranteed the freedom to perform religious rituals for adherents of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Interim President Adly Mansour issued a Constitutional Declaration on July 8 that superseded the 2012 constitution. The declaration guarantees freedom of religion only for adherents of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Both the 2012 constitution and the Constitutional Declaration declare Islam is the official religion of the state and the principles of sharia (Islamic law) are the primary sources of legislation. Certain laws and government policies and practices further limit constitutional guarantees of religious freedom. Defaming Islam, Christianity, or Judaism is prohibited by law. As required by law, prosecutors investigated dozens of criminal complaints filed by citizens against those whose statements or actions were alleged to be blasphemous, denigrating of religion, or insulting to the Prophet Muhammed or other historical religious figures. In contrast to previous years, some of these cases were prosecuted, leading to the conviction of at least nine people during the year. Non-Muslims must obtain a presidential decree to build new places of worship. While recognized and unrecognized religious minorities mostly worshiped without harassment, the government generally failed to prevent, investigate, or prosecute crimes against members of religious minority groups, which fostered a climate of impunity. The government arrested, detained, or harassed members of minority Muslim groups. The Morsy administration routinely failed to condemn incendiary speech, including anti-Semitic and anti-Christian speech in mosque sermons and during broadcasts by Islamic “televangelists.” The interim government undertook serious measures to stop incendiary speech in mosques and on Islamist television channels. In some respects, such as in the number of permits granted for the construction of churches, there were indications of slight improvements in government practices under the interim government.

To read the full report on Egypt, click here.

U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor

This report was originally published here.

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