Jan 6, 2011
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Terrorism and religious freedom in Egypt

MA in Democracy and Governance student Samuel Tadros argues that lack of religious freedom in Egypt lies at the heart of the New Year’s Eve terrorist attack on a Coptic Church that killed 23 Copts:

The current attack is attributed to Islamist anger over the alleged kidnapping by the Coptic Church of a Priest’s wife whom they claim converted to Islam. The general context is Islamist anger at what they perceive as the humiliation of Islam at the hands of Copts by asking to build churches…In all of this there is no alternative provided. There is no argument for the right of an individual to choose his religion, there is no defense of the right of people to build churches, and there is no public sphere opened to Christians.

This seems like a pretty solid argument to me. Placing the communal feelings of the followers of a state’s dominant religion above the ability of an individual to practice the religion of his or her choice is only a small step away from legitimizing oppression of those who don’t adhere to the dominant religion.

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Founded in 2004, Democracy and Society is a biannual print journal published by the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. The D&S Blog provides web-only content, including special reports and investigative series, on issues relating to democracy and development.

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