In a statement issued on Friday, the Free Egyptians Party stressed the need for Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to abide by the promise made in May to pass a law criminalising all forms of discrimination and safeguarding rights and freedoms.
The party also stressed the importance of a unified law for religious constructions to include churches in order to avoid violations in the future. Sharaf had also declared that a unified law will be drafted by the Cabinet to guarantee that church construction licenses can be easily obtained.
Sharaf had promised on 11 May that a unified law for building houses of worship would be issued within 30 days and that the Cabinet would draft a law to prohibit any form of discrimination among Egyptian citizens in accordance to the articles in the constitutional decree announced by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in March. Sharaf’s statements followed several assaults against Christians in several parts of Egypt followed by mass Coptic protests.
The party’s statements have come after sectarian clashes that erupted in Aswan over a dispute regarding the building of a church, which some Muslim inhabitants claimed did not have the required license. The party also urged the Governor of Aswan to reconsider the way the matter is being handled and to hold accountable those who assault the homes and shops of Copts in the area the better to preempt sectarian strife.