April 28th, 2011
03:33 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Washington (CNN) - Egypt has been added to a list of countries named as the worst violators of religious freedom for the first time, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom announced Thursday in releasing its annual report.
"The Egyptian government engaged in and tolerated religious freedom violations before and after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on February 11, 2001," the commissioners wrote in the report. They cited violence toward religious minorities in Egypt including Coptic Christians and non-majority Muslim groups.
"Since February 11, religious freedom conditions have not improved and attacks targeting religious minorities have continued," the report said.
March 14th, 2011
10:28 AM ET
From Reza Sayah, CNN Correspondent
Egypt's military has started rebuilding a church burned down in an outbreak of unrest between Christian Copts and Muslims, a military official told CNN on Sunday.
The Shahedin Church in Helwan province south of Cairo, the capital, was burned earlier this month in what was believed to be a feud between a Muslim and Coptic family. Further clashes last Tuesday killed 13 Copts.
"The engineering department of the Egyptian Armed Forces has started to rebuild the church in Atfeeh today at the same exact location," Army spokesman Maj. Mohamed Askar said. "The Armed Forces will bear all expenses."
Meanwhile, thousands of Christians in Cairo have protested outside the offices of the Egyptian state broadcaster for nine consecutive days, demanding the rebuilding of the church and an end to what they call government persecution and discrimination.
February 7th, 2011
07:31 AM ET
CNN's Nadia Bilchik talks to Randi Kaye about Egypt's Coptic Christians and their views on the crisis.
January 17th, 2011
10:52 AM ET
A man accused of killing Christians after a Christmas mass a year ago in Egypt has been sentenced to death, Egypt's state-run Al Ahram newspaper reported Sunday.
Mohamed El-Kamouny, one of three people accused in the targeted killing of members of the Coptic Christian sect after a Christmas mass, is the first to be sentenced.
Seven people were killed - six Copts and a Muslim guard - in the January 2010 incident outside a church in the southern town of Naga Hammadi. Coptics observe Christmas Day on January 7.
The judge who sentenced El-Kamouny postponed the sentencing of the other two defendants until next month, Al Ahram reported.
The sentencing comes in the wake of a new round of concerns over the security of Copts in Egypt.
January 13th, 2011
10:44 AM ET
From Ian Lee, For CNN
More than 1,000 police officers shut Cairo's Mansheyit Nasr district Wednesday after clashing with hundreds of Christian protesters.
Rocks and shards of glass littered the street as helmeted police carrying riot shields and nightsticks stood guard.
Officials on the scene offered no explanation as to the cause of the protest. Journalists were restricted from entering the area. Wounded officers were seen being helped to leave the area.
Injuries were reported on both sides, but numbers could not be confirmed.
Police were also seen dragging protesters away.
January 10th, 2011
10:22 AM ET
The pope worries about a recent spate of attacks on Christians worldwide. CNN's Jill Dougherty reports.
January 7th, 2011
10:21 AM ET
Egyptian Muslims attended Christmas services Friday in a show of solidarity with Coptic Christians days after a bombing killed 23 congregants in the country's north.
Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas Day according to the Julian calendar, and observed it on Friday this year.
Security was tight around churches after the blast on New Year's Day outside the Church of the Two Saints in Alexandria.
Congregants were forced to empty their pockets before the start of the service as part of security measures set up after the bombing.
January 6th, 2011
10:40 AM ET
Egyptian authorities beefed up security Thursday as Coptic Christians warily ushered in Christmas Eve after a New Year's Day bombing in front of a church that killed nearly two dozen of their members.
The Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar and therefore will observe it Friday.
"Police plan a large-scale security operation for tonight to protect Egypt's Coptic Christians and their churches." Col. Alla Mahmoud of the interior ministry said.
In addition, hundreds of supporters gathered outside the prestigious Al-Azhar University on Thursday in a show of solidarity for the Coptic community.
On Wednesday, Egyptian authorities released a sketch of a man they think may be responsible for the attack.
January 5th, 2011
02:26 PM ET
Coptic churches around Europe are expressing fears for their safety following a New Year's Day attack on a church in Egypt that had been listed on an Islamist website.
The same site, which is affiliated with the al Qaeda terror network, listed 16 Coptic churches in Europe, including four in France and three each in England and Germany.
Germany's Federal Office for Criminal Investigations said it has notified state authorities of a general terrorist threat against Coptic Christians living in Germany. A spokeswoman said the office issued the notification after the threats were discovered on the site.
"It's up to the state authorities to decide how they react to such a threat," said spokeswoman Barbara Huebner, without going into detail about the threat.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.