It was discovered Thursday evening near Luxor in Egypt that a mother and her two daughters were killed and their bodies thrown into the Nile River.
"We have the chance to show that America values the dignity of the street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator ... America must use all our influence to encourage reform in the region ... we need to speak honestly about the principles that we believe in, with friend and foe alike."
Which prominent American spoke these words? It was neither Senator John McCain, enthusiast of democracy promotion, nor former President George W. Bush, architect of the Freedom Agenda. It was our realist, pragmatic President Barack Obama, in a major speech on May 19, 2011, during the heady early months of the Arab Spring.
Speaking at a conference in Milan, Italy, on May 8, 2013, that city's archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Scola, called for the abolition of blasphemy laws worldwide. Such a step would significantly help protect globally the freedom of speech and religion desperately needed by Christians in particular while countering Islamic fanaticism with freedom.
Morsi Sheikh, former head of the Appellate Court and director of the Center for Justice and Democracy of Human Rights, stated that Copts in Egypt face continual threats and violence from Islamists.
He was commenting on one of the fathers of the children accusing Coptic teacher Demiana Abdel Nour of insulting Islam after the child's father threatened to kill thousands of people. Her case had been postponed, prompting the father's outburst.
"The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis do not want justice to run its course, by threatening them, and judges often succumb to the pressure," Sheikh told Mideast Christian News.
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 is a U.S. public charity organization under section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are deductible under Section 170 of the Code.