Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday the jury was out on whether Egypt’s Islamist political parties will equally represent non-Muslims, and said the Obama administration’s future relationship with President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood would depend on how they respect the rights of Coptic Christians, women and other minorities.
Speaking to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Clinton recounted the discussions she had with Morsi and Egyptian Christians when she visited Cairo earlier this month. She said Egypt was still grappling with the challenge of religious liberty as it seeks to establish a democracy after decades of dictatorship.
“I heard from Christians who want to know that they will be accorded the same rights and respect as all Egyptians in a new government led by an Islamist party,” Clinton said. “They wonder, will a government looking explicitly to greater reliance on Islamic principles stand up for non-Muslims and Muslims equally? Since this is the first time that Egypt has been in this situation, it’s a fair question.”