The deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt, Dr Rafiq Habib, has criticized the US House of Representative’s decision to assign a special US Religious Freedom Envoy to the Middle East, primarily to protect Egypt’s Coptic Christians.
A Coptic intellectual himself, Habib said that this decision constitutes “the continuation of US attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the region, particularly Egypt, under the pretext of supporting the rights of women and Copts.”
“The US is once again trying to interfere in the region’s internal affairs. Following the Arab revolutionary spring and now that the old regimes, its former allies, have been toppled – it is as though it is formulating other leverage cards to strengthen its role in the region”, he added.
“Egypt won’t allow interference in its affairs, and it will not once again play the old role that the toppled regime used to play.”
“The US has to understand that the rules of the game have changed, and that a great change has occurred – and that the popular will now has the final word; it won’t allow itself to be a follower of any external force again.”
A number of US rights organizations had praised the US House of Representatives’ vote in favour of a bill assigning a Religious Freedom Envoy to the Middle East, mainly to protect Coptic Christians in Egypt. The US organizations called on US Congress Representatives to take further steps to “stop the oppression of Copts in Egypt.”
On Saturday, July 27, the US House of Representatives voted for a bill creating a special envoy to the Middle East to oversee the affairs of Copts and religious minorities and with the aim of “supporting the rights of these religious groups.”
402 US Representatives voted for the bill and 20 Representatives voted against it.
The bill tasks the envoy with defending the rights of religious minorities in Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.