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FDHRD issued a report about (Victims Based on Religious Belief)

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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

                                                 Press Release

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Today, Tuesday, September 21, 2021 the unit of researches and studies in FDHRD issued a report entitled “Victims based on religious belief”

The report emphasized that although all religions in the world adopt the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, in some countries religious minorities are subjected to deliberate violations and deprivation of some privileges and gains. Forms of religious persecution come against all religions in the form of verbal abuse, physical violence, and even murder.

The report discussed a number of themes, the most important of which are:

First: Recognition of Religious Minorities:

In the context of recognizing the rights of religious minorities and to clarify how religious minorities can be dealt with and policies to stop the violations directed against them, the report presented the Islamic perspective, and the different opinions in political thought, as well as the most important rules of international law in recognizing the rights of religious minorities.

• With regard to the religious minority from the Islamic perspective, the report stated that there may be a difference in the definition of religious minorities, but there is agreement that Islam denies discrimination and discrimination between people on the basis of race, color or language, and recognizes equality in origin and rights.

• As stated in the report regarding the religious minority in liberal political thought that the recognition of the rights of religious minorities falls within a group of issues that are related to the policies of cultural pluralism in which cultural and ethnic differentiation can be accommodated in social, political and economic arrangements from a collective side, and raise the issue of the importance of social characteristics of identity humanity on the one hand. This multiculturalism may sometimes require political recognition in the form of parliamentary legislation, such as a demand for guaranteed political representation, or recognition of a group’s distinct ethnic or cultural identity (the right of recognition).

With regard to freedom of belief and religion in international law and Egyptian legislation, the report emphasized that freedom of belief exists as a major component in international and national legislation. Legal texts and charters emphasized the protection of freedom of religious belief, the first of which was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the International Covenant on Rights Civil and Political 1966 (Article 18), African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights 1979, Declaration of 1981 on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

On the national side, Egypt has signed and complied with a number of international conventions and treaties on freedom of belief, and the Egyptian constitution guarantees freedom of belief for all heavenly or non-heavenly religions and other beliefs, in accordance with Articles (53) and (64) of the 2014 Egyptian Constitution, and court rulings Cassation and the Constitutional Court in order to consolidate the principle of freedom of belief.

Second: Discrimination and Violation Monitoring Map based on Religion (Worldly- National):

The report emphasized that despite the peaceful developments that the world witnessed and the end of long periods of war between the armies of the world, a wave of violations against people or groups religiously different from that dominant belief in society has emerged in some countries, especially in European countries where populism has spread. Muslim minorities or of Arab origin in many countries of the world are subjected to acts of violence and persecution by governments, religious sects or individuals, and hatred against Muslims is still prevalent in America, Europe and China.

The report mentioned violations of freedom of belief in the world, according to the following:

○ The United States of America: (82%) of Muslims are subjected to many cases of discrimination, including suspicious treatment, or discrimination by airport security or giving them offensive names, but Muslims are not the only group persecuted on religious grounds but there are Jews and evangelical Christians. The Pew Research Report also indicates that (64%) of Jews face at least some discrimination in the United States and (32%) of evangelical Christians experience discrimination and injustice.

○ China and Burma: The Chinese government has committed many crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims. Also, Muslims living in Xinjiang are subjected to the most rigorous surveillance in the world. Muslims in Burma are also exposed to the most severe types of abuse the government and extremist Buddhist groups. Since 2012 until now, human rights violations against Burmese Muslims have increased significantly. Muslims have been subjected to an organized campaign of genocide, and entire neighborhoods and villages of Muslims have been burned under the sight of the Buddhist Maga police. Also, more than 14,500 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution.

○European Countries: 82% of European governments-imposed restrictions on Muslims in 39 out of 45 countries, and social hostility to Muslims in Europe reached 71%.

○ France: Since 2015, a significant increase in attacks against Arabs and Muslims has been observed. 230 attacks were recorded in-between killing, burning, beating and expulsion, and the scene of burning the Qur’an and mosques has become a frequent scene in many French streets and regions. The principle of freedom of expression 2020 was exploited as a tool to claim that Muslims group should be disciplined.

Germany: Germany witnessed widespread protests against Islam and immigrants, specifically in 2015, organized under the “Pegida” movement, where about 100,000 people participated in demonstrations against Islam and immigrants.

Britain: There were 734 hate crimes recorded between 2013 and 2019, including 23 attacks, 13 violent attacks, 56 attacks on mosques, and hundreds of online abuses.

Scotland: Hate crimes occurred in Scotland immediately after the Paris attacks, 3 of which came as a direct response to those attacks.

The Netherlands: Many mosques and Islamic facilities were attacked by some extremists. Dutch politician Geert Wliders also pledged to close mosques and prevent Muslim immigration, if he wins the elections.

○ Switzerland: The European Court of Human Rights refused to wear a veil teacher while performing her professional duties. The court held that a teacher who wears a “strong external symbol” may have a kind of 15 missionary effects on young children, in this case aged between 4 and 8 years.

○ Russia: In the first six months of 2020, more than 40 people were punished for violating the anti-proselytizing law. According to a new report from Forum 18 (a Norway-based religious freedom news service), government shutdowns and pandemic stay-at-home orders have not slowed the multiple crackdowns unauthorized religious activities. Muslims were more prosecuted for illegal missionary activities than Protestants (they are the usual targets of the state.)

According to Forum 18 during 2020, local police fined dozens of Muslim men for teaching Arabic grammar. In addition to a Roman Catholic sect was fined performing a Latin Mass and Pentecostal worship in his home, and dozens of Baptists distributing religious literature.

○ India: in 2020, more than 40 people were killed when Hindu-Muslim clashes erupted over the controversial modified Citizenship Act. Amnesty International said Muslims bore the brunt. Videos emerged on social media from the Khajuria Khas district in north-east Delhi, where police were seen interacting with a crowd and throwing stones. A shop owner claimed that the police allowed him and other Hindus to throw stones at Muslims on the road.

– Violations of belief freedom in Egypt

The definition of religious minorities in Egypt is mixed with some groups with a political and extremist orientation. Copts in Egypt were subjected to a series of attacks on their property and threats to their personal security at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood during the period of former President Mohamed Morsi’s authority and the subsequent attacks following the June 30 revolution.

– The Egyptian state’s efforts to confront violence based on belief

For Egyptian state’s efforts to confront violence based on belief, The report stated the following:

The government has taken many initiatives in this regard, including the distribution of pamphlets and brochures, changes in the education system, new classrooms, and the use of the authority and expertise of Al-Azhar and other Islamic institutions to promote tolerance and moderation, and a culture of dialogue.

According to 2016 law to legalize unlicensed churches and facilitate the construction of new churches, the government reported that it had issued 814 licenses to existing but previously unlicensed churches and related support buildings, bringing the total to 1,412 churches. Copts began to assume some leadership positions in the state, and in 2018, Dr. Manal Awad Mikhail was appointed as governor of Damietta.

The report ends up by some recommendations, most important ones are:

  • The human rights and political circles should pay more attention to the issue of respect for freedom of religion and belief. Efforts to promote freedom of religion and belief must be part of broader strategies for democratic transformation, development and peacebuilding, implementing ongoing preventive awareness campaigns for youth and organizing several anti-discrimination workshops based on belief.

• Conduct thorough, impartial and independent investigations into all religious and belief-based attacks; bring persons found responsible for killings or persecutions, and initiate reparations for victims.

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