- (Photo: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
A leading human rights organization has urged Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to investigate the deadly St. Mark's Cathedral attacks and bring those responsible to justice.
Human Rights First (HRF) demands that the government "immediately establish a public inquiry into incidents of sectarian violence that have occurred in recent weeks, including yesterday's clashes around Cairo's main Coptic Christian cathedral," according to a HRF statement published on their website.
"Those implicated in acts of sectarian violence should be prosecuted and member of the security forces who failed in their duties to protect citizens should be held accountable," the statement added.
HRF's international policy advisor Neil Hicks warned that the continued rise in sectarian violence is an indication that the country's security forces cannot provide the security of its citizens.
"The escalating sectarian violence is a further sign of the deteriorating security situation in Egypt that, in turn, is the product of an intractable political stalemate," Hicks said.
Hicks noted that a large number of Egyptians questioned the legitimacy of Morsi's presidency and feared "he is using his narrow victory in last year's presidential election to secure authoritarian control for the Muslim Brotherhood movement."
He added that these incidents also came across the backdrop of continued political struggle between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and detractors.
"Sectarian tensions are nothing new in Egypt … they are, however, especially dangerous at this time because of the low level of public trust in the government and apparent incapacity of state institutions to address the nation's problems," Hicks continued.
HRF added that given the attacks were carried out around the Coptic cathedral, which is the home of Pope Tawadros II, the perpetrators would be embolden at having not been met with resistance from security forces.
"It is especially disturbing that members of the security forces are reported to have stood by and allowed a mob to attack mourners coming out of the cathedral with rocks and firebombs, and even in some cases to have sided with the mob in attacking Christians," HRF's statement added.
Used with permission from MidEast Christian News (MCN). Read more from MCN by clicking here.