For the first time since 1978, Frank Wolf’s name will not appear on the November ballot in Virginia’s Tenth Congressional District. The republic will be the poorer for that.
His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, accompanied by a papal delegation, was received by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia at the Russian Patriarchate on 29 October 2014.
The visit, that included a formal meeting of delegations, followed by lunch, marks 26 years since the most recent visit of the last Pope of Alexandria, His Holiness, the late Pope Shenouda III.
A glimpse of the anxiety sweeping the Arab world surfaced last week when an Arab woman complained during a talk in Amman at the Columbia Global Center for the Middle East. She said my speech’s title about the “crisis” in the region wasn’t accurate. The correct word was “disintegration.” The audience cheered loudly.
In preparation for Egypt’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN, scheduled for November 5, the Forum of Independent Egyptian Human Rights Organizations (the Forum), comprised of 19 organizations, published a joint report on the status of human rights in Egypt over the past four years. The report was sent to the UN Human Rights Council in March, the deadline for the submission of governmental and independent reports to be discussed during the UPR. As per the council’s procedures, the reports are subjected to UN review and assessment prior to release and publication in the run-up to the UPR. Reviews are conducted to record the human rights status of member states every four years.
For Immediate Release
Coptic Solidarity strongly urges that the international community, through the United Nations Human Rights Council, appoint a special rapporteur for the Copts in Egypt, particularly in light of the recent evictions, property confiscations and attacks against Copts.
The Copts are the Christians of Egypt who represent about12% of Egypt’s 84 million people.
Over the past two weeks, a new and ugly campaign has been waged against Copts. At least eight Coptic families have been evicted from their homes in the al-Nahda village, Amereyah, near Alexandria, following unconfirmed accusations against a Copt of having an affair with a Muslim woman. Even though the accused quickly surrendered himself to the police for investigation, some 5000 village people, incited by Salafists and other Islamist groups, went on a violent rampage, collectively punishing the few Coptic families that live in the area, burning and ransacking their houses and their property. To make things worse, a “council” dominated by these Islamists was convened, in the presence of and approval of the area’s chief of the police. This “council” decided to evict eight families from the village. The families’ property will be liquidated by the “council.” When theses families objected to such a decision, they were told that were “free to stay at their own risk.” They have since escaped, while the remaining families live in absolute fear.
In October, the Egyptian army committed a deliberate massacre against peaceful Coptic demonstrators and supporting Muslims who had organized a demonstration to protest the repeated attacks on churches by Islamists. The well-documented Maspero massacre claimed 27 Coptic lives, including at least 10 who were crushed by armored personnel vehicles. Despite the local and international uproar that arose, the junta did little to identify, let alone punish, those responsible. Instead, and in a flagrant reversal of the facts, it blamed the Copts and started to arrest and investigate some of the leaders of the demonstration. Over the past few days, two priests and at least two youths have been accused of “incitement” leading to murder, “attacking army personnel” and the disturbance of public order. They are banned from traveling abroad.
Such alarming acts come at the same time as the newly “democratically elected” parliament begins its term, with Islamists dominating over 75% of its seats. Of the 498 elected members of Parliament, only six are Copts. When one of these Coptic members requested that the assembly investigate the above-mentioned evictions, or include the Maspero massacre in the list of issues given to a special investigative committee, his request was ignored by the Speaker.
Coptic Solidarity condemns the escalating oppression against the Copts in Egypt, which is carried out with the full complicity of the ruling Junta. As the country appears to slowly slide into a military Islamo-fascistic regime, the international community is urged to consider its policies towards Egypt.
Coptic Solidarity 2014 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28, 2014.