The Federal Government’s Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, Markus Löning, issued the following statement today (20 August) on the attacks against Christians in Egypt:
We are extremely concerned about the attacks in Egypt and we condemn the violence in the strongest possible terms. We offer our heartfelt sympathy to the victims and their families. It is the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens from violence.
I am shocked by the images of devastated and ransacked churches and by reports of brutal attacks on Christians. Under the current circumstances in Egypt it is vital to guarantee the protection of religious minorities. I expect the Egyptian Government to fulfil this responsibility and do everything possible to prevent targeted assaults on Christian Egyptians. The Muslim Brotherhood leadership is called upon to publicly condemn the violence, and ensure that its members are not taking part in the attacks. Religious minorities must not suffer the backlash of the current political turmoil.
The events of the past days clearly demonstrate that Christians are particularly vulnerable during violent unrest. Therefore Germany has repeatedly drawn attention to the particular need to protect religious minorities.
Since the protest camps in Cairo were cleared last week there have been violent clashes across the country. In particular Christian facilities have been targeted by the extremists. According to reports from Church authorities, suspected Islamists have destroyed approximately 60 Christian churches, institutions, hospitals and schools. In Upper Egypt, where many Christians live but which is also the Muslim Brotherhood’s stronghold, Christian homes and businesses have been destroyed over the last few days. Church representatives have reported that to date seven Christians have died, 17 have been kidnapped and hundreds have been injured.
The German Government has expressed its concern about the violent attacks against Copts and Christian facilities. Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle called for an “immediate end to the violence” perpetrated against the Christian community and urged the interim government to afford them protection.