Arab spring cannot succeed without religious diversity
by Joseph Daul
Violence against Coptic Christians, in Egypt, must be stamped out if a new democratic state it to emerge successfully
The Arab spring has entered a crucial moment. Egypt, for example, is in the middle of a transition initiated less than a year ago – but it now has to set up the structure of the new democratic state. A democratic state is - first of all - based on human rights, respect of minorities' rights and freedom of religion. Without these freedoms and values, a peaceful cohabitation among the various communities is not viable.
The Coptic Christians are part of the Egyptian national community and - as such - they should have the right to live, grow, and fully participate in the renewal of the newly emerging society. They are fully entitled to live in peace, to fully express their opinions and to be protected from any possible violence. The Egyptians should be able to find a way - their own way - to build up the new democratic structures necessary to guarantee the freedom of all religions. They should be able to stop violence against any minority.
The European Parliament last October adopted - with a large majority - a resolution urging those in power to stop the violence and provide more protection for Christians in Egypt. This is not the first time our assembly has urged leaders to end violence against Christian minorities. From now on, we should demand that Coptic Christian communities should not have to accept being the victims of violent and deadly attacks. They should be entitled to live in peace and freely express their beliefs.
We ask the Egyptian authorities to give the adequate protection to the Coptic Christians and to their churches, in order to put an end to the continuous aggression and destruction of churches by Islamic extremists. The EP resolution stressed the importance of an independent, thorough and transparent investigation into the events of Maspero, in Egypt, in order to hold all those responsible accountable for their actions.
Joseph Daul MEP is chairman of the European People's Party group in the European Parliament
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