Egypt has amended its criminal code and has imposed a fine of at least U.S. $5,000 for discrimination based on “gender, origin, language, religion or beliefs.” Photo: Paul Prescott
Egypt has issued a decree banning all forms of discrimination, including religious. The move is seen as an attempt to deflect criticism of its military rulers after recent clashes between soldiers and Christians killed 26 people in the country’s worst violence since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February.
An amendment to the criminal code imposes a fine of at least U.S. $5,000 for discrimination based on "gender, origin, language, religion or beliefs," according to an announcement from the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.
The punishment for a government employee found guilty of breaking the new rules is at least three months in prison or a minimum fine of U.S. $16,800.
The Egyptian interim cabinet has also agreed to discuss the issue of building permits for Christian churches in this overwhelmingly Muslim country, in which only about 10 per cent of the population of 80 million is Christian.
The new ban is largely seen as a limited but positive symbolic step that will be difficult to put into practice, let alone enforce.