Several Coptic Christian leaders and priests recently discussed the closures of their churches. For example, Fr. Stephen Shehata, undersecretary of the diocese of Samalout, Minya, explained how three of the diocese’s churches were shut down because they did not have the required licenses.
Coptic Christian housewife Samira A., 25, disappeared from the village of Edmu in Minya, Upper Egypt.
As the Syrian civil war enters its fifth year and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Daesh) continues to commit atrocities across the region, impunity is rampant in Iraq and Syria. According to official sources, there have been at least 250,000 casualties in Syria since 2011, an unknown but not insignificant number of which are likely civilian. Many atrocities have been reported, including murder, torture, persecution, enslavement of children and women, rape and sexual abuses, and other inhumane acts.
The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms called for dropping the charges of contempt of Islam against four children in case No. 350 of 2015, Bani Mazar Misdemeanor court. The four children are: Molar Atef Edward, Bassem Amgad Hanna, Alber Ashraf Hanna and Clinton Magdy Youssef.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the Commission stressed that this is not the first case, as children were accused of contempt of Islam in Egypt in October 2012 at Marko manor, Al-Fashn, Bani Suef. It went on, “Two Christian children, Nabil Nady Risk, 9 years old, and Mina Nady Farag, 10 years old, were detained for three days after they were accused of contempt of Islam, as a villager alleged that they ripped up Quran. These are very dangerous cases in which social pressures play the main role. Some articles of law are used as swords hanging over the heads of intellectuals, writers, citizens and even children who belong to religious minorities.”
(By Reuters): An Italian student found dead by a roadside in Cairo with cigarette burns and other signs of torture on his body had written articles critical of the Egyptian government, according to the Italian newspaper that published them.
Egyptian Military Attacks and Kills Peaceful Coptic Demonstrators
Coptic Solidarity strongly and unequivocally condemns the Egyptian army’s unprovoked attack and massacre of unarmed Copts that occurred on Sunday, October 09, 2011—an attack which reflects the deeply disturbing actions by Egypt’s military rulers to prevent the establishment of a free and democratic Egypt, and to avoid its duty to protect Egyptians, including the Coptic Christians.
The demonstration itself, in which Copts and other Egyptians participated, was a direct result of repeated attacks over the past months, especially the recent destruction of yet another church in Edfu, in which Copts were repeatedly attacked by Islamists without any perpetrator being brought to justice, a pattern that suggests complicity by the ruling Junta.
The unwarranted use of force by the military included opening live fire on demonstrators and even chasing after and intentionally running over Copts with armored vehicles and tanks (military equipment that was most likely provided by the U.S. military aid). Authorities put the death toll of protesters at 25, though other sources offer significantly higher numbers. The wounded are reportedly in the hundreds. Scores of Copts have been randomly arrested.
Dr Emad Gad, a senior political analyst at the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, and an eyewitness of the events, said on El-Nile government TV station that the peaceful demonstrators were attacked by unprovoked military in such a way that amounts to “war crime” and “crime against humanity” putting the responsibility squarely on Tantawi’s shoulders. He was quickly shut up by the anchor.
Dr Mohamed Mounir Megahed, a well respected activist and participant in the demonstration, attested that it was, similar to previous demonstrations, very peaceful with no sign that demonstrators had the means or intention to use violence.
Nawara Nigm, a Muslim activist and a first hand witness, confirmed that the demonstration which included many women was peaceful, and that security forces shot live ammunition on unarmed people. She saw a soldier beating a young man after seeing that his arm was tattooed with a cross.
The Alliance of Revolutionary Youth accused the SCAF and the government of utter failure in handling the situation and the state-run TV of inciting sedition between the country’s communities.
During the events, military officials shut down two independent media, including US-funded Alhurra TV, apparently to prevent them from providing live coverage of the protests.
Such brutality comes days after nearly 20 members of the army’s military police were clandestinely videotaped beating, dragging, and kicking a Coptic protester—all while shouting anti-Christian slogans, such as “You infidel son of a bitch.”
Coptic Solidarity demands that, in the same way Mubarak is being tried for his responsibility in ordering attacks against civilians before his ouster, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, chief of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and Lt. General Hamdy Badeen, commander of the Military Police, be investigated to determine their responsibility for committing crimes against humanity and against the Egyptian people.
Coptic Solidarity strongly urges that the international community, through the United Nations, lead an independent international investigation in the attack similar to what the UN ordered after an Israeli attack on Gaza.
Coptic Solidarity (www.copticsolidarity.org)
P.O. Box 1450 Centreville, VA 20122, USA
21 bis rue du Simplon 75018 Paris, France
For further information:
USA: Halim Meawad (1-240-644-5153), Caroline Doss (201-418-9090)
Magdi Khalil (1-202-725-3091)
Canada: Maher Rizkalla (1-905-399-4147)
Europe Adel Guindy (+33-1-4701-2600), Helmy Guirguis (+44-7775-800-929),
Sobhy Gress (+33-6-3129-4779)
Australia Ayad Grace (+61-2-9899-5740)
Coptic Solidarity 2015 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 11-13, 2015.