No Dutch Protection for Egyptian Christians
THE HAGUE, 23/08/13 - The cabinet sees no reason in the present situation for a special asylum scheme for Coptic Christians from Egypt. “There is no question of an organised religious cleansing.”
Dozens of churches and other properties of Christians in Egypt have been set on fire in the past week. Small Christian party ChristenUnie wants the cabinet to make more specific efforts on behalf of the Coptic religious minority, for example by designating them a ‘risk group’ as part of asylum policy. They would then be able to obtain temporary asylum in the Netherlands more easily.
But the cabinet is not in favour of this for now, and is also not prepared to relax its visa policy. Every visa application will be considered on its merits, but the visa procedure is not intended for people who want to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 90 days, Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans says in a letter to parliament.
ChristenUnie is disappointed. “Coptic Christians appear to be outlawed,” according to MP Joël Voordewind.
Timmermans says in his letter that ''individual Egyptians” have used the unrest to commit violent acts against Christians, but that it cannot be established with any certainty that there is organised viiolence by political movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The attacks against this Christian minority are “unacceptable,” but “there is no question of an organised religious cleansing.”