Thursday, February 4, 2010
Egyptian Christians ask for equal rights as Muslims to build houses of worsh
Amal Meseha, the mother of Abanoub Atef, one of the 6 Copts who was killed on Jan. 6 during a bloody Coptic Christmas Eve attack in the southern town of Nag Hamadi, grieves as she waves her son's posters during a protest in front of the Egyptian Parliament in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Nasser Nouri) (NASSER NOURI, AP / February 3, 2010)
Egyptian Parliament in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Nasser Nouri) (NASSER NOURI, AP / February 3, 2010)
CAIRO (AP) — 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