Report Slams Egypt Over Antisemitism

By Ori Nir

Published June 03, 2005, issue of June 03, 2005.
  • Print
  • Share Share

WASHINGTON — A new report published Wednesday by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom slams the government of Egypt for allowing the deterioration of rights of religious minorities, including Jews.

The report, which focuses on violations of the religious rights of non-orthodox and non-conforming Muslims, also mentions the failure of President Hosni Mubarak’s government to take “steps to combat widespread and virulent antisemitism in the media.”

“Material vilifying Jews, with historical and new antisemitic stereotypes — also appear regularly in the state controlled and semi-official media,” the report says, including Holocaust denial and antisemitic cartoons. “Although Egyptian government officials have said that there is no official policy condoning antisemitism or other forms of intolerance, acts of antisemitism are virtually unopposed by government leaders,” states the report, echoing accusations by American Jewish groups and the U.S. State Department, in its annual report on human rights violations worldwide.

Although the report does not mention any physical attacks on Jews in Egypt, it points out one especially disturbing incident: prominently displayed billboards, just outside a synagogue near Cairo, which labeled current and past leaders of the State of Israel as “killers.” A diplomat with the Egyptian embassy in Washington said that the billboard was taken down about two weeks ago, because of the intervention of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights, a newly formed independent agency that strives, among other things, to protect religious rights in Egypt.

The report states that violations of religious minorities’ freedoms are endemic and systemic in Egypt, citing the result of the role that the state security services play in monitoring and regulating religious affairs and the result of an article in the Egyptian penal code, which prohibits “insulting” religion.

Under the article, dozens of non-conformist Muslims and non-Muslims have been tried in security emergency courts and in military courts for “unorthodox” or “deviant” religious beliefs, the report says.

Last year, for example, six people were sentenced to six months in prison for gathering and advocating changes to basic Islamic rules, the report says.

The report criticizes the American government for not making religious freedom a priority of its policy toward Egypt. Egypt remains America’s second-largest recipient of foreign aid, according to the report, “even though democratic and human rights reforms by President Mubarak’s government have been almost non-existent.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.