Egypt’s military rulers have issued a decree prohibiting all forms of discrimination, after clashes between soldiers and Christians killed 26 people in the country’s worst violence since a revolt this year.

Saturday’s amendment to the criminal code states a punishment of a fine of no less than $5,000 for discrimination based on “gender, origin, language, religion or beliefs”.

The punishment for a government employee found guilty of breaking the new rules is at least three months in prison or a minimum fine of $16,800, the council said in a statement published on Saturday.

The caretaker cabinet said on Thursday that it would discuss the sensitive issue of building permits for Christian churches at the heart of sectarian tensions in the overwhelmingly Muslim country.

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