Sectarian violence in Egypt

Media release

8 April 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today expressed the Australian Government's concern about recent sectarian violence in Egypt.

"Peace, stability and harmony between religious groups are critical in this period of Egypt's transition," Senator Carr said.

"I welcome President Morsi's decision to order an immediate investigation into these clashes. I also welcome his affirmation that the protection of all citizens, Muslims and Christians, is the responsibility of the state.

"Our thoughts are with the loved ones of those killed or injured in the recent violence."

Clashes took place on Saturday following a funeral service held in Abassiya in central Cairo at St Mark's cathedral, for four Coptic Christians killed in sectarian violence earlier in the weekend.

The Australian Government has previously called on Egyptian authorities to ensure religious freedoms are respected and the rule of law is applied equally to all Egyptians.

Religious freedoms in Egypt, including the situation of Coptic Christians, were also raised in talks between Senator Carr and President Morsi in Cairo in September 2012. Talks were also held with .the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Al-Tayeb, and with acting Patriarch of the Coptic Church Bishop Bakhomious.

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