Egyptians on segregated Cairo bus
Egyptians on segregated Cairo bus Israel news photo: Flash 90

Egypt has slammed its inclusion by the United States on a list of nations that violate the religious rights of their citizens, found in the Executive Summary of the U.S. State Department's annual International Religious Freedom Report.

A spokesman for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry told reporters on Saturday that no country should give itself the right to act as a monitoring body on other sovereign nations. “Each country can understand its own problems and challenges and work on them efficiently,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Egypt is found on a list of 30 nations where “violations of religious freedom have been noteworthy” in the report’s Executive Summary. 

The United States itself does not appear on the list; according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reports on domestic violations of religious freedom are prepared and issued separately and periodically throughout the year.

Striking was the lack of any mention of the harassment, official and otherwise, visited upon the small Jewish community in Egypt.

Egypt’s largest Jewish house of worship, downtown Cairo’s Sha’ar HaShamayim synagogue, was targeted by an Arab terrorist in February who attempted to set the building ablaze with an explosive suitcase. Sha’ar HaShamayim is the synagogue in which Israeli diplomats pray when they visit Cairo.

One month later, the Egyptian government announced it would not allow Jews to pray in Cairo’s newly-restored Maimonides Synagogue. The announcement came in retaliation for Israel’s security response to Arab rioting on the Temple Mount.  

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