In a May 26th meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed the importance of human rights at a crucial time for religious freedom in the country. While reinforcing the partnership between Egypt and the United States, the two agreed to constructively discuss the promotion and protection of human rights for all Egyptians, reports International Christian Concern.
In its 2021 Annual Report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended that Egypt be placed on the State Department’s Special Watch List for countries whose governments “engage or tolerate severe violations of religious freedom”.
Attacks on Coptic Christians by sectarian mobs plague rural areas of Egypt, while the Egyptian government is incrementally increasing its crackdown on the religious freedom of Christians in the country. Egypt’s blasphemy law is one of the world’s most restrictive, and its implementation has resulted in some of the highest rates of blasphemy-related imprisonment and prosecutions in the world.
While Secretary Blinken’s meeting with President Al-Sisi provides a glimmer of hope for human rights in Egypt, the country’s failure to protect its religious minorities suggests that much work is left to be done. Though Egypt has done well in its diplomatic efforts to promote peace in the region, such as its recent mediation of a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, the United States must not turn a blind eye towards minority Egyptians for the sake of appeasing the Egyptian government.
Matthew 5:44 says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”