Coptic Church rejects US commission report

The Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt rejected the US Commission on International Religious Freedom's (CIRF) annual report, which condemned Egypt's lack of religious freedom. The church called on the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and the government to solve Copts' problems internally without regard to the content of the American report.

The report released Thursday accused Egypt of not protecting religious minorities or prosecuting crimes against them. 

Father Abdel-Masih Basit, a clerical professor and pastor in Mostorod, called on the SCAF and Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's government to solve Copts' problems,  which have been aggravated after the revolution due to attacks from extremist groups. He stressed that the solution must free from foreign intervention.
Basit cited attacks on Christians in Moqattam and on a man in Qena whose ear was cut off as crimes the government has not prosecuted.
Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights, welcomed the report, saying it was based on the escalating attacks against Copts and religious minorities which have worsened despite political changes.
Gabriel said that although the rights group regrets that the US commission put Egypt on a 'blacklist', it agrees with the report's findings.
The group has often warned against not bringing perpetrators to justice and against portraying Copts as second-class citizens, Gabriel said.
The CIRF report said that the atmosphere in Egypt is saturated with intolerance.

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