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Dahshour Copts supporters call for anti-discrimination clause in Egypt constitution

Egyptian liberal and letist political forces pressure the state to address sectarianism following the forced expulsion of 120 Coptic families from a town south of Cairo

Ahram Online , Sunday 12 Aug 2012
Dahshour
Young resident of Dahshour, Giza explaining the forced eviction of his Coptic neighbour (Photo: Osama Wardani)
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A number of political groups and movements call for a protest on Monday to take place outside Egypt’s High Court building in Cairo to protest sectarian violence. They demand the state take action on the issue, which they partly blame for neglecting the boiling problems.

The call was made after the clashes that took place in the town of Dahshour, south of the capital, in late June. A number of Coptic-owned businesses and residences burned down, forcing approximately 120 Coptic families to flee from the town in fear for their lives.

Some of the groups that have called for the protest include: the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Mina Daniel Movement, the Maspero Youth Union, Egyptians against Religious Discrimination movement, the Coalition for Detained Revolutionaries, Free Egyptian Movement and Free Front for Peaceful Change.     

Under the slogan "We want justice in Dahshour," the groups made a number of demands, including trying all the perpetrators involved in the incident.

They also call for stricter measures to instil deep changes within the state system to attempt to eliminate sectarian strife and violence. Enforcing the law is necessary to help stop discrimination, they emphasise.

The Coptic families who fled should be returned to the village, the homes that were destroyed should be rebuilt and all those affected should receive retribution, the groups insist.

The political forces also urgently call for a new article to be added to Egypt's new constitution (currently being drafted by a Constituent Assembly), which would clearly define and criminalise discrimination.

After things calmed down in the village, approximately 36 Coptic families so far have reportedly returned home.

The Maspero Youth Union decided, therefore, to postpone a separate demonstration intended to protest the expulsion of the families from Dahshour.

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