"This carnage is horrifying. The world must not turn a blind eye to this heinous atrocity," said B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. "The Egyptian leadership must prove its intention to ensure the protection of religious minorities by bringing those responsible to justice and enacting procedures to bring an end to the rampant abuse of the rights of minorities."
In recent years interfaith tensions and assaults against Coptic Christians, who comprise 10 percent of Egypt's population of nearly 80 million, have persisted including this year's attacks on Coptic churches and clashes between Muslims and Copts in Tahrir Square. But this massacre, ahead of the scheduled parliamentary elections Nov. 28, represents the worst violence since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February.
Religion-based crimes have been on the rise over the last few years. Coptic Christians cite ongoing persecution and discrimination regarding interfaith romantic relationships, concerns over freedom of practicing their religion and rules that hinder church building.
"The Coptic protestors were demonstrating for their rights as a religious minority. Instead, their call was answered by an alarming wave of mob violence," said Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. "We must all continue to be vigilant to ensure such violence does not continue."