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Religious Violence in Egypt

May 13, 2011
Floor Statement

Mister Speaker,

I rise today to express my outrage over this weekend's religious violence in Egypt.  Despite January's inspiring calls for freedom and democracy, religious minorities in Egypt, such as the Coptic Christians, are facing increasing attacks during Egypt's transition.  On Saturday night, a religious clash broke out in Cairo involving an estimated 2,000 people. In the aftermath of this weekend's sectarian violence, six Muslims and six Christians were dead.  

The Coptic Christians, like all Egyptians, are demanding freedom and respect.  I am concerned that even with Egypt's transition, minority rights remain extremely limited, and I believe that the interim government is not doing enough to protect the rights and lives of its citizenry.  Coptic Christians deserve to live and worship without being threatened, injured or killed.

Violence in the name of the religion is unacceptable, but when governments do not sufficiently address such behavior, the violence is far more troubling.   The United States must stand firmly with the people of Egypt, and any U.S. assistance to Egypt must be tied to a strong respect for human rights in the country.

Thank you.  I yield back.