Copts Need Full Rights Under Egyptian Law After 'Centuries of Persecution,' Says Egyptian Journalist

Dr. Abdel Halim Kandil, a prominent Egyptian journalist, expressed his rejection of a quota system for Copts and other religious minorities to ensure their representation in parliament that is being considered in the new draft of the country's constitution.

Kandil insited that they should be treated as Egyptian citizens with full rights with the understanding that Copts in the country have been suffering for centuries.

"Copts have been suffering from religious discrimination since Ottoman rule in Egypt," Kandil told Mideast Christian News. "The displacement of Copts is a major crime," he added.

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"In addition to the sectarian conflict existing in the community, Gamaat Islamiya burned several churches following the breakup of Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins, and in retaliation for Copts' participation in the June 30 revolution."

Copts heavily participated in the revolution that occurred over the summer and which prompted the Islamists to retaliate by burning and looting churches and Christian owned business. Pope Tawadros also previously announced at the time that all the affected churches were a sacrifice for Egypt.

"Copts suffer from many problems, such as the discriminative ideas rooted in society," Kandil explained. "This remains till this day. Sectarian discrimination against Copts has existed for four decades, and is yet to be eliminated."

He lamented that the nature of Copts' displacement, especially in Upper Egypt, is an effective tactic to discriminate against Copts.

"It's another form of violence practiced against Copts. It's a heinous crime to displace Copts from their homes and lands because of a crime they committed. This matter can only be resolved by imposing tougher punishments against the perpetrators."

He concluded by also describing school curricula as discriminatory as it contains many phrases that incite religious discrimination.

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