The government frequently failed to prevent, investigate, or prosecute crimes targeting members of religious minority groups, which fostered a climate of impunity, according to a prominent local rights organization. The government often failed to protect Christians targeted by kidnappings and extortion according to sources in the Christian community, and there were reports that security and police officials sometimes failed to respond to these crimes, especially in Upper Egypt. Government representatives continued to participate in and sometimes lead informal “reconciliation sessions” to address incidents of sectarian violence and tension, which adopted findings favoring members of the majority Muslim community most of the time, according to human rights groups. The government increased its prosecution of individuals for denigrating religions, according to statistics compiled by a prominent rights group. TV host Islam El-Beheiry was sentenced to one-year imprisonment for denigrating religion after criticizing some elements of Islamic texts, according to a human rights group. The government held Bishoy Armia Boulous, a convert from Islam to Christianity, in pretrial detention without charges beyond the six-month legal limit for misdemeanors. The government continued to prohibit conversion from Islam by those born Muslim. Some minority religious groups reported increased government harassment. Some government officials, including those at Al-Azhar, vilified Shia and atheists. The government failed to condemn anti-Semitic speech. Actions and statements of President Sisi, however, were seen by Christian leaders as positive messages that Christians were full members of society.
Police failed to act in the face of victimization of Christians in Upper Egypt who were disproportionately targeted for kidnapping and extortion, according to human rights activists and Christian leaders, although there were some reports of police successfully securing the release of kidnapped Christians. In November a local human rights organization stated that unknown assailants kidnapped a Christian man from Al-Manah, Qena, detained him for three days, tortured him, and attempted to coerce him to convert to Islam. The man’s family paid the kidnappers 50,000 EGP ($6,390) and the man was released. The local human rights organization said that local police failed to act in this case and more broadly in the face of kidnappings of Christians in parts of Qena.
On August 8, police were able to secure the release of four kidnapped Christians in Samalot, Minya a day after they were kidnapped. Police thwarted an attempted kidnapping of a Christian on January 26 in Tema, Sohag, arresting three would-be kidnappers. In May police secured the release of an eight-year-old Christian child after he spent 17 days held by kidnappers in Naga Hammadi, Qena.
The police in Samalot, Minya, did not act on complaints of a Christian family when their 5-year-old son was kidnapped on October 21 and failed to pursue the kidnappers, according to an international rights organization. The kidnappers released the child after his family paid 45,000 EGP ($5,625).
On June 13, Giza Criminal Court sentenced 23 defendants to 14 years in prison for the June 2013 killing of four Shia, including prominent Shia cleric Hassan Shehata, in the village of Zawyat Abu Muslam in Giza. The court found the defendants guilty of the murder of the four individuals and the attempted murder of 13 others. The court also acquitted eight defendants of the charges. The killings took place in the midst of violence that erupted in 2013 following months of Shia denigration by Salafist preachers and the then-ruling Muslim Brotherhood, according to a human rights organization. No one was prosecuted for inciting violence against the victims and their community, according to the same human rights group.
The government broadly applied article 98(f) of the penal code to prosecute individuals whose statements or actions were alleged to have been blasphemous, denigrated religion, or insulted the Prophet Muhammad or other religious figures. Government prosecutors investigated criminal complaints filed by private citizens on such charges, leading to prosecution of at least 20 individuals and convictions of at least eight individuals during the year. The number of prosecuted cases was significantly higher than in previous years, according to a local human rights organization.
Government officials continued to sponsor “reconciliation sessions” after sectarian attacks and intercommunal violence, including in blasphemy cases, instead of prosecuting the perpetrators of the crimes. Such reconciliation sessions precluded recourse to the judicial system since, in most cases, the parties agreed to drop all formal charges and lawsuits as stipulated by the terms of the session.
For example, in April a Muslim resident of El-Naseriya village in Minya Governorate filed a police complaint accusing four Christian high school students and their teacher, Gad Youssef Younan, of denigrating Islam in a video in which the students reportedly pretended to pray in accordance with Islam and mocked Da’esh. A local human rights nongovernmental organization (NGO) reported that on April 7, police arrested Younan on charges of denigrating Islam, and Younan’s immediate family left the village shortly after the arrest, reportedly due to fear of retribution. On April 10, Muslim residents of El-Naseriya held a demonstration in protest of the video, throwing rocks at Christian-owned houses, according to media reports. The same day, local police arrested the four students (aged 16-17) said to be involved in the creation of the video, which some human rights advocates stated was an attempt by the police to pacify Muslim protestors. El-Naseriya’s mayor led a reconciliation session on April 17, in which local Christian and Muslim leaders and security officials agreed that Younan should be expelled from El-Naseriya and his family should not be allowed to return, according to the local rights organization. During the session, local Christian clergy also issued a formal apology for the video. Younan and the four students were released on 10,000 EGP ($1,277) bail each on May 14 and 27, respectively. Upon his release, Younan departed El-Naseriya. Prosecutors referred the case to Bani Mazar Misdemeanor Court which, on December 31, sentenced Younan to three-years’ imprisonment and a fine of 200 EGP ($24) for denigrating religion. The four students’ trial on the same charge continued at the end of the year, according to their lawyer.
Police arrested 18-year-old student Maher Fayez from the village of Miyana, Beni Suef. on May 13, for denigrating Islam via a post he published on Facebook, according to a prominent local Christian news outlet. After his arrest, a Muslim villager printed and distributed Fayez’s post, and publicly called for violence against Fayez, according to the outlet. During the subsequent investigation, Fayez denied that he published the post, and said his account was hacked. According to media reports, in an attempt to abate increasing tension and deter violence, local government and religious leaders led a reconciliation session at the Miyana police station in which participants agreed that Fayez’s family should leave the village, which they did. On June 4, local leaders held a second reconciliation session in which they overturned their previous decision and agreed that Fayez’s family could return to Miyana, which they did the same day. The Beni Suef prosecutor released Fayez on November 15, six months after he was detained, according to the press, at the limit of the maximum pretrial detention period for misdemeanors.
In May a Muslim resident of Kafr Darwish, Beni Suef, filed a legal complaint against Ayman Tawfik, a Christian Egyptian resident of Jordan with family ties to Kafr Darwish, accusing him of denigrating Islam, after Tawfik reportedly published a Facebook post, which some Muslims said was offensive to the Prophet Muhammad. Violence erupted between Muslim and Christian residents after the complaint was filed, according to a local human rights organization. Local village elders and Muslim and Christian religious leaders held a reconciliation session on May 22 in which participants agreed that Tawfik’s family should pay a fine of 50,000 EGP ($6,390). According to media reports, on May 24, a second reconciliation session resulted in the expulsion of Tawfik’s immediate family. The following day, according to the human rights NGO, some Muslim villagers threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Christian-owned houses. A subsequent reconciliation session on May 27, determined that Tawfik’s extended family should also be expelled. After three weeks, the Governor of Beni Suef and the Mayor of Kafr Darwish announced Tawfik’s family should be allowed to return and the local government would oversee the return, open an investigation into the incident, and provide compensation for the damages to Christian properties, according to media reports. According to a local rights group, public outcry against the displacement of the families put pressure on local leadership to overturn the displacement decision. Tawfik’s family returned to Kafr Darwish on June 3. According to the local human rights NGO, however, as of the end of the year, no compensation had been disbursed to the families and no investigation had been initiated into the attacks on Christian-owned property. The legal investigation of the denigration case against Tawfik remained ongoing.
On May 31, Old Cairo Misdemeanor Court sentenced TV host Islam El-Beheiry to five years’ imprisonment for denigrating religions. Upon appeal on December 28, the Al-Gamaliya Appellate Misdemeanor Court reduced the sentence to one year. Prosecutors had pressed charges against El-Beheiry after a lawyer filed a complaint accusing him of denigrating Islam because of his critique of Islamic texts which he said had links to violence, including certain hadith, on his show Ma’a Islam (With Islam), which aired on Al-Qahera Wal-Nas satellite channel. According to press reports, nearly 50 additional legal complaints were filed against El-Beheiry, including by the Ministry of Awqaf and Al-Azhar. In addition, after receiving a complaint from Al-Azhar, the Free Media Zone, the government agency concerned with satellite channels, issued Al-Qahera Wal-Nas a warning. In an April 24 statement announcing its termination of El Beheiry’s show, the satellite channel stated it took that action in response to the grand imam of Al-Azhar and “out of respect to a large faction of the Egyptian people.”
Prosecutors did not file charges against Bishoy Armia Boulous, a convert from Islam to Christianity previously known as Mohamed Hegazy, but repeatedly ordered his continued pretrial detention based on accusations that he denigrated Islam in a symposium in 2009. According to his lawyer, Boulous was being held illegally, having exceeded the maximum pretrial detention period of six months. Boulous was initially sentenced to five years in prison in 2013 for “illegally filming demonstrations to stir international public opinion against Egypt.” In December 2014, the appellate court accepted Boulous’ appeal of his sentence on the illegal filming charge and reduced it to one year. During the appeal process, Boulous was released by order of the appellate court in July 2014 pending a decision on the appeal. Upon his release, police immediately rearrested Boulous based on accusations of denigration of Islam in 2009. On May 12, the press carried a statement by Boulous’ lawyer that he had been physically beaten and verbally abused by prison officials because of his conversion to Christianity. The lawyer also told press that Boulous was denied a Bible and prescription glasses. According to a human rights advocate, Boulous’ re-arrest and continued detention were due to his conversion to Christianity. Boulous was previously known for suing the Ministry of Interior (MOI) in 2007 for not allowing him to change his legal religious identity from Muslim to Christian. The administrative court ruled in favor of the MOI.
On July 10 in Alexandria, three young Christian men, one of whom was 16, were arrested on charges of denigration of Islam after one of the three distributed flyers containing an excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount. According to a local human rights group and press reports, a Muslim man detained one of the men, assaulted him physically, locked him in a store for more than an hour, and then took him to a police station. The youth called two Christian friends who joined him at the police station, and who were then detained. The three were then referred to prosecutors on suspicion of “defamation of religions and new ways of proselytizing among Muslims,” according to press reports. All three were released on a bail of 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,250) each on July 12.
The Edko Misdemeanor Court sentenced student Karim El-Banna, 21, to three years’ imprisonment on January 10 for denigrating religions by publishing posts allegedly critical of Islam on Facebook. According to a local human rights organization, El-Banna – reported to be an atheist – was arrested in November 2014 after he attempted to file a police complaint against a group of his neighbors for harassing him for his personal beliefs. Police then detained El-Banna on charges that reportedly had been issued against him at an earlier time for the posts. According to the local rights organization, El-Banna’s father testified against him in court under pressure from friends and family. Human Rights Watch said El-Banna’s lawyers appealed the verdict, and the court released him on bail of EGP 1,000 ($145). El-Banna’s appeal process was ongoing at the end of the year. El-Banna’s name had been published by Al Bawaba News website in 2014 as one of a number of people who publicly professed their atheism on Facebook, as part of a campaign calling on atheists to go public with their beliefs.
On May 17, the Daqahlia Talkha Appellate Misdemeanor Court sentenced a retired doctor to six months in prison and two others to five years in prison for denigrating religions and “adhering to the Shia faith,” according to the press. The latter two were sentenced in absentia and received the maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment. According to press reports, the prosecution filed the charges after police apprehended two of the absentee defendants – the two who were later released and sentenced in absentia – whom they said transported 54 books and 100 CDs containing Shia teachings to the retired doctor in 2013.
On March 22, the Court of Cassation upheld a five-year prison sentence for Salafist televangelist Sheikh Ahmed Abdullah, also known as Sheikh Abu Islam, for burning a copy of the Bible after encouraging a child to urinate on it during protests outside the U.S. embassy in 2012. Abu Islam was also sentenced to six months’ imprisonment in a separate case for defaming Christianity on TV in 2014.
The government effectively prevented some religious practices and speech through the use of politically motivated legal action, according to some religious and human rights groups. Officers from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology’s Censorship Department detained Farid Samir, Executive Director of SAT-7 Egypt on October 10 (SAT-7 Egypt is the local affiliate of SAT-7, a Christian satellite television station). Samir was released after several hours, but faced charges related to operating a satellite TV station without a proper permit, according to SAT-7. Officers also confiscated SAT-7 equipment and materials after presenting a search warrant, effectively stopping the channel’s live broadcast from the country through the end of the year.
On July 14, the Ministry of Awqaf banned well-known Muslim preacher Mohamed Gebreel from leading prayer and religious lessons at mosques, accusing him of incitement and extremist speech. In its announcement of the ban, the ministry stated Gebreel had violated ministry instructions by “using worship for political purposes in a manner supportive of extremist thought.” According to the press, Gebreel had led worshipers at Amr Ibn Al-As mosque in prayer on July 13, saying, “God protect us from corrupt media, the ignorance of rulers, and preachers who lead us astray.” Airport authorities prevented Gebreel from traveling on July 15, according to media reports. The media also reported that Gebreel filed a complaint on July 25, and on October 27 an administrative court lifted the ban, stating in its decision that the travel ban was a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement which had been imposed without a court order.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity (MOSS), the authority responsible for NGO registration, announced on May 6 the formation of a committee tasked with investigating NGOs that allegedly practice or promote Shia religious rites. The law regulating NGOs prohibits the establishment of unions or federations for religious purposes. There were no reports that MOSS investigated NGOs allegedly affiliated with other religious rites. On May 19, police raided an NGO run by Shia community leader Taher El-Hashemi, after reportedly receiving information the NGO was promoting Shia Islam and broadcasting without a proper license. The press reported police confiscated books that incited hatred against Sunni Islam and carried Shia ideas. Police arrested El-Hashemi and detained him briefly before releasing him on May 20 on bail of 1,000 Egyptian pounds ($128), according to press reports. The press also reported that the prosecution charged El-Hashemi with possessing unlicensed books promoting Shia Islam. On April 30, the MOSS undersecretary in Sharqia Governorate dismissed the board of directors of a preschool suspected of promoting Shia Islam.
The government prosecuted and convicted the perpetrators of some of the attacks on churches that took place in the aftermath of the forcible dispersal of Muslim Brotherhood-led sit-ins in Cairo and Giza 2013. Approximately 78 churches and other Christian-owned properties had been attacked by Islamist-led mobs. On September 3, the Sohag Criminal Court sentenced 26 defendants to life imprisonment, 67 to 15 years and 26 others to 10-years’ imprisonment for setting fire to the Sohag Coptic Orthodox Diocese’s services building and St. George’s Church in Sohag, as well as armed assault against police. On April 29, the Giza Criminal Court sentenced 71 defendants to life imprisonment for breaking into and burning down the Virgin Mary Church in Kerdasa, Giza, and other crimes including illegal possession of firearms and attempted murder. The court also sentenced two juveniles to 10 years in prison on the same charges. Fifty-two of the defendants were sentenced in absentia.
Members of religious groups without official registration and which continued to hold meetings reported they faced detention and prosecution for harming social cohesion or denigrating religions. The government did not prevent members of unrecognized churches, such as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, from worshiping privately in small numbers. Representatives of one of these groups, however, reported increased harassment by government officials, primarily via increasingly frequent threatening phone calls. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses community leaders, they were not allowed to gather for worship services in groups of more than 30 people.
The government prevented religious practice at key sites in connection with some religious holidays. The Ministry of Awqaf closed the Imam Hussein Shrine for a three-day period surrounding the October observation of Ashura. The ministry’s October 22 statement explaining the closure described Shia practice as “falsehoods” with “no relation to Islam.” In connection with the closure, Awqaf Undersecretary Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Razek described Shia practices as “hocus-pocus [such as] slapping their faces and chests, weeping and other acts that contradict the religion.”
For the fifth consecutive year, authorities cancelled an annual Jewish pilgrimage, including the participation of many Israeli citizens, to the shrine of 19th-century scholar Rabbi Yaakov Abu Hassira. The cancellation occurred following an administrative court decision to ban permanently the Abu Hassira festival in December 2014. The court justified its decision by stating the festival was a “violation of public order and morals” and “incompatible with the solemnity and purity of religious sites.”
On Orthodox Christmas Eve, January 7, President Sisi visited worshipers at St. Mark’s Cathedral, the country’s main Coptic Orthodox cathedral, becoming the first president ever to do so and sending a positive signal of religious inclusion, according to religious leaders and rights groups. During his visit, Sisi said that all Egyptians are equal.
On January 1, in an address at the Ministry of Awqaf on the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, President Sisi called on the country’s scholars and imams to dispense with Islamic texts that espoused violence and to promote tolerant Islamic teaching as part of a “renewal of religious discourse.”
At another event marking the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday on December 22, President Sisi told Al-Azhar scholars to refute “malicious ideas and warped interpretation,” teach “that tolerance does not contradict religion [Islam] and that accepting the other does not oppose faith,” one that benefits all mankind. The president also said that everyone should have the freedom to choose what religion and belief to follow without fear: “Are we custodians of people’s minds or choices? No we are not, especially not in religious matters.”
In December the Official Gazette announced that, beginning January 1, 2016, 1,000 EGP ($128) per month will be paid to imams who deliver sermons that fulfill the instructions of the Ministry of Awqaf. While Ministry of Awqaf officials stated the move would help imams focus on their battle against violent extremism, it was criticized by a human rights group as part of an effort to monopolize Islamic discourse.
The government continued to ban the importation and sale of Shia and Jehovah’s Witnesses literature.
On September 26, the Middle East Freedom Forum announced that Al-Azhar and Ministry of Awqaf officials had effectively stopped the distribution of a book the Forum had published in March on “denigration of religion in Egypt.” The book, Blasphemy in Egypt, was authored by longtime religious freedom lawyer and activist Hamdy El-Assiuty and activist Magdy Khalil. In a Facebook post, the Forum stated that officials from both institutions warned the bookstore selling the book that the book “insulted Islam.” The Forum added that it subsequently withdrew the book in response to the bookstore’s request. The Forum described the actions of the officials as “a flagrant violation of freedom of thought, expression and press.” In an interview on October 4, Minister of Culture Helmy El-Namnam denied the book was withdrawn due to Al-Azhar and Ministry of Awqaf action, and said it was taken off the shelves due to lack of sales.
The military completed restoration of 26 of the 78 churches and other Christian buildings attacked after the forcible dispersal of the Muslim Brotherhood-led sit-ins in Cairo and Giza in August 2013, according to a Christian representative with a leadership role in the restoration process. Private citizens restored an additional 23, he also reported. A total of 29 buildings in 24 locations were yet to be restored. In August 2013, the government had announced the army would rebuild destroyed churches at its expense.
On July 2, Cairo University restricted Islamic prayer on campus to one mosque under Ministry of Awqaf supervision. University President Gaber Nassar told the press that the decision was aimed at stopping “extremist thought on campus,” which he said emanated from some small mosques, or prayer zawiyas, on campus.
In response to President Sisi’s January 1 call for a “religious revolution” to combat extremism, then-Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehlab created a curriculum development committee, over which he personally presided, on March 4. The committee’s members included the grand mufti, the ministers of education, higher education and awqaf, and the president of the Azharite Institutes Sector. On March 18, according to the committee’s recommendations, the Ministry of Education began removing texts from primary and middle school curricula which it said “incite violence and extremism,” including passages on Salaheddin (Saladin), a Muslim ruler who confronted the Crusaders; and another on Uqba ibn Nafi, a seventh-century Arab general who began the Islamic conquest of North Africa. According to several Christian clergy, the majority of such texts had been removed from texts used by the Ministry of Education as of the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year. They noted, however, that some public school teachers continued to refer to such texts in practice. Al-Azhar Undersecretary Abbas Shouman stated in a June interview that Al-Azhar had completed updating and modernizing its school curricula, asserting that changes would be reflected in Al-Azhar textbooks used in the 2016-2017 school year.
The government changed the official religion of minors to Islam whenever at least one parent converted to Islam, regardless of whether the parent in question had custody, according to a religious freedom lawyer. In cases when the mother had converted, the government violated the law in so doing, as the law required the consent of the legal guardian of a minor before changing his or her records, and the law assigned guardianship to the father, according to the same lawyer. Some children who were legally identified as Muslims but who self-identified as Christians and lived in Christian homes were forced to attend religion classes for Muslim students, which entailed memorizing and reciting Islamic texts, among other coerced Islamic activities which violated their consciences, Christian representatives reported. They also stated that such children could not be admitted to a Christian orphanage. Additionally, children who were legally identified as Muslim but grew up in Christian homes had no recourse to choose with which religion to be legally identified when they reached the legal age.
The government discriminated against religious minorities in public sector hiring and staff appointments to public universities, according to academic sources. They also stated no Christians served as presidents of the country’s 17 public universities and few Christians occupied dean or vice dean positions in the public university system. Only Muslims could study at Al-Azhar University, a publicly funded institution. Additionally, the government barred non-Muslims from employment in public university training programs for Arabic language teachers because the curriculum involves study of the Quran.
The total number of members of parliament was 596, of whom 568 were elected, including 120 chosen through coalition or party lists, and 28 were appointed by President Sisi. Thirty-six Christians were elected to parliament, and two were appointed.
In a phone interview on the ONTV Channel on May 13, Cairo University President Gaber Nassar stated there were no Christian faculty members in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department. Nassar acknowledged that while there was no law preventing the appointment of Christians in the department, it was possibly part of the department’s “culture.” Nassar’s comments came in response to an op-ed published on the same day by columnist and physician Khaled Montassar, who decried the lack of Christians teaching in the obstetrics and gynecology departments nationwide due to what he perceived as unspoken discriminatory customs among faculty members.
Christians who converted to Islam and then back to Christianity continued to be able to amend their national identification cards to reflect their chosen faith, according to an MOI decree pursuant to a court order. Some Christians, however, reported difficulty or long delays in obtaining the paperwork needed to complete the process, which a prominent lawyer stated was due to government pressure against church authorities.
Government officials sometimes made disparaging remarks about minority religious groups. On February 15, Minister of Awqaf Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said “the enemies of religion and the nation” were nurturing extremism, atheism, and “destructive sects” such as the Bahai Faith and Ismailis. Gomaa also said that Bahais had “close relations with Zionists” and his ministry held training sessions to spread awareness “on the dangers of these ideas on religion and national security.” On March 15, the minister equated atheism with terrorism, and said the two were promoted by “invisible powers” with the aim of destroying the military, economic, and intellectual structures of Arab societies. In a December statement, Al-Azhar stated that it objected to the spreading of Shia Islam in the country, and considered it “political intervention in a Sunni country.”
The government generally failed to take action against or condemn anti-Semitic comments that appeared in both government-owned and private media. For example, on November 15, Al-Hayat satellite channel television host Iman Izz Al-Din said that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of Da’esh, was a Jew. On October 27, El-Rahma television host Muhammad Khaled said “The history of the Jews has been black since the dawn of time. Nebuchadnezzar burned them, the Crusaders burned them, and even Hitler and Nazism burned them.” Then he asked his interviewee, professor of Islamic history at Cairo University Yusri Ahmad Zidan, whether “burning was the only solution for the Jews.” Zidan responded, “So it seems.”
During the parliamentary elections, a leading member of a prominent electoral coalition said in a conference in November that a member of an opponent coalition adhered to the Shia sect of Islam, and rhetorically asked the attendees, “Do we want to allow Shia into the parliament?”
The government generally tolerated foreign religious workers on the condition they did not undertake efforts to proselytize Muslims. Sources stated non-Muslim minorities and foreign religious workers generally refrained from proselytizing to avoid risking legal penalties and extralegal repercussions from authorities and local Islamists.
The government sometimes participated in or failed to prosecute desecration of religious property. On April 3, security forces entered and vandalized the House of St. Youssef al-Bar, a property owned by the Archbishopric of Maghagha and al-Adwa, saying the site had no building permit, according to a local human rights group. The archbishopric issued a statement saying it had received the necessary permits.
Following the beheading of 20 Egyptian Copts in Libya by an Da’esh affiliate, President Sisi approved the state-funded construction of a church in their honor, announced a seven-day period of national mourning, and declared them “martyrs,” entitling their families to each receive 100,000 EGP ($12,700) and a monthly stipend of 1,500 EGP ($192). He promised “retribution for the killers” after which Egypt conducted air strikes against Da’esh in Libya. According to a human rights activist, that response ran counter to ideas espoused by hardline Islamist groups in the country, which hold Muslims should not be killed in retaliation for the killing of Christians. President Sisi sent a number of senior officials, including then-Prime Minister Mehlab and then-Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, to visit the families of victims. Authorities announced streets would be named after some of the victims.