Egypt Sectarian Clashes Up, Gov't Action Weak: Study

April 12, 2010

Author: Dina Zayed

Source: Reuters

Egypt must face up to increasing sectarian violence and prosecute offenders in order to stave off a further rise in such attacks, a rights group said on Sunday.

"The state does not have a plan to quash sectarian tension and it does not even acknowledge its existence," Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, said at a news conference to launch the study.

The group's study found the number of cases of sectarian violence rose between 2008 and 2009 in the overwhelmingly Muslim nation where Christians make up some 10 percent of the 78 million population.

It identified 53 examples of clashes, with 24 in 2008 and 29 last year, saying many cases were not being investigated sufficiently or had been ignored.