SWC Urges US and EU to Demand that Egypt’s Interim Government Protect Coptic Christians

May 9, 2011

“Treatment of minorities is litmus test for Egypt’s future”

In wake of continuing violence and attacks on Coptic Christians and churches, the Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging the United States and European Union to demand that Egypt’s current rulers take immediate measures to ensure the safety of Egypt’s largest minority and their institutions.

“For Egypt’s Copts, the Arab Spring has devolved into a Christian Nightmare,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights NGO. “The United States and the European Union, provide substantial aid to Egypt. They should make it clear to Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, that it cannot be business as usual as houses of worship are attacked and members of the Coptic community subjected to violence and terrorism. The current situation is also a litmus test for the candidates vying for Egypt’s presidency. What measures they are prepared to support in order to reassure a community under siege is critical,” Cooper added.

“The world was enthralled by the non-violent activism that brought down the previous regime,” noted Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Director of the Wiesenthal Center’s Interfaith Affairs. “However, we are witnessing the brutal reality that there is a very thin line separating the quest for democracy and mob rule. Egyptian leaders must step up to ensure that religious freedom for all citizens will be protected as a basic human right,” he said.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.