Egypt Bans Discrimination, Following Coptic Violence

Posted October 15th, 2011 at 2:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Egypt's transitional military rulers have issued a decree that punishes discrimination, after 26 people were killed in clashes that erupted at a Coptic Christian protest.

Authorities issued the decree on Saturday which penalizes anyone found guilty of discrimination based on religion, gender, beliefs or language. The state-run MENA news agency says the penalties include up to three months in prison and a fine of up to $16,000.

The decree follows violent unrest in Cairo on October 8 that included security forces, Copts and Muslims. The unrest began after more than 1,000 Copts marched to the state television building in protest of a recent attack by Islamist radicals on a Coptic church in the country's south.

It was the country's worst street violence since former President Hosni Mubarak's resignation in February.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population. They have long complained of unfair treatment in the country. They have also criticized the interim government, saying it has been too lenient on Islamists they blame for a series of anti-Christian attacks.