Egypt systematically oppresses Christians and minority Muslim sects, according to a congressional commission that placed a key US ally in the Arab world on a blacklist of nations that routinely abuse religious liberties. Egypt, for the first time, was designated a "country of particular concern" for the "systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom," the US Commission on International Religious Freedom said in its annual report released Thursday. The independent, bipartisan commission also noted that President Obama has failed to add any country it cited for religious intolerance to a separate blacklist maintained by the State Department. Countries on the State Department list face some level of economic sanctions. "There is a problem with the failure to cite countries, and then a failure to take action when countries are cited," commission Chairman Leonard Leo told The Washington Times. The commission reported on 28 countries with severe religious strife, citing 14 as the most serious abusers. The commission included 11 on a lower-level "watch list" of nations with lesser degrees of religious persecution and three others where conditions are closely monitored.
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