Quota for Copts in Egyptian Parliament Would Prevent Sectarian Violence, Says Rights Activist

Said Abdel Massih, head of the Egyptian Center for Development and Human Rights (ECDHR), has called on the 50-member committee tasked with amending the 2012 Egyptian constitution to allocate a quota for Copts in parliament in an effort to quell sectarian strife and provide added representation and protection for Copts.

Abdel Massih insisted that a quota system for Copts would be a means of addressing sectarian problems, adding that there had been violence incidents associated with nominations of Copts to office.

He cited a case of looting and burning of the house and law firm of Ehab Ramzi, a Coptic lawyer in Minya, in addition to an incident in early April when Copt Alaa Samir ran for parliament.

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Abdel Massih said that a quota system would balance the representation of Copts in parliament and reduce sectarian violence, which "undermines the country."

Egypt is now negotiating the system that will be govern the next parliamentary elections and whether these elections will be held according to the list system or the individual system.

The discussions include the question of a quota for Copts, which many say is necessary due to the spread of a culture of discrimination against Copts, which can prevent them from winning seats in parliamentary elections.

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