Egypt: Religious Freedom:Written question - 25733

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
[N]
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'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 03 February 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Egypt: Religious Freedom
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to the government of Egypt on the convictions of Islam al-Beheiry and Fatima Naaot in that country for contempt of religion.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 08 February 2016

We are aware of the cases of Islam al-Beheiry and Fatima Naaot and are following both cases closely. We have raised the importance of freedom of religious belief and freedom of expression with the Egyptian authorities on a number of occasions and will continue to do so.

We deplore all discrimination against religious minorities and constraints on their freedom to practise their faith. The Government of Egypt has clearly stated its commitment to protecting the rights of minorities and of the need for religious tolerance; it is important that these rights are respected.

In November 2015, My Rt Hon and noble Friend, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Baroness Anelay and I met Non-Governmental Organisations to consider what more could be done to help Christians and other persecuted minorities in the Middle East. I also met with the Secretary for Relations with States within the Holy See's Secretariat of State to discuss this. In December the UK, in partnership with the Egyptian Grand Imam, launched a new scholarship for Al-Azhar graduates to pursue doctoral studies at British universities. The scholarship aims to promote mutual understanding among a new generation of Muslim and non-Muslim scholars.

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