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Egypt Denies Equal Rights to Christians

Egypt Christians call for right to build churches
Source: AP, February 3, 2010
Cairo, Egypt - Egyptian activists have protested in front of parliament and called for legislation giving Christians equal rights as Muslims to build houses of worship. The demonstrators, both Muslim and Christian, were also protesting Wednesday against the sectarian strains in the country, particularly in light of a Christmas Eve slaying of six Copts and a Muslim guard outside a church in southern Egypt. The government has maintained that sectarian harmony reigns in Egypt and said the Jan. 6 attack had no religious dimension. Muslims need a municipal permit to build mosques. But Copts must get their papers signed by the president. Ten percent of Egypt's 80 million are Copts, who complain of being denied equal citizenship rights. Clashes do occasionally erupt.