By Coptic Solidarity –
Coptic Solidarity is gravely concerned about the increasing incidences of attacks on the Coptic community in Egypt recently. In the span of just the last few months, Copts have been brutally targeted and murdered, and many Coptic homes and businesses have been looted and set on fire in livid mob violence. This intolerable outbreak in violence comes over and above the systematic, government-sponsored discrimination which Copts endure on daily basis.
In response to this escalating violence Coptic Solidarity issued a press release on July 11, 2016, detailing many of the incidents and urging the Egyptian authorities to exercise their responsibilities to protect all citizens, hold culprits accountable to the full force of the law, and to take concrete and decisive steps to end the climate of hatred and institutionalized discrimination against Christians.
Amidst this perilous situation, Bishop Markious confirmed that 2-3 Copts are being attacked on a daily basis in Egypt and said that,” As long as the attackers are never punished, and the armed forces are portrayed as doing their duty, this will just encourage others to continue the attacks, since—even if they are arrested, they will be quickly released.”
On July 22, Coptic Solidarity issued another press release calling for a peaceful demonstration in front of the White House, on August 2, 2016. The purpose of this event was to protest against the persecution and daily attacks on the Copts in Egypt perpetuated with collusion of the authorities and amidst an atmosphere of impunity and absence of protection and justice.
On August 4th, Coptic Solidarity published a press release urging Egypt’s law-makers to break away from the historical conditions of dhimmitude when considering a new law regulating Construction of Churches, and proposed specific policy recommendations aimed to achieve equality for Copts in constructing their churches.
Instead of responding to our legitimate calls by implementing measures to combat the rampant atmosphere of hatred and religious bigotry, the Egyptian government chose to attack Coptic Solidarity’s reputation through its known agents in the local media by disseminating fallacious claims of tarnishing Egypt’s reputation, disloyalty, being funded by foreign governments, being paid agents of spy organizations to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt.
It is clear that the purpose of such deceptive allegations is to create confusion and mistrust and shake our supporters confidence in our mission and put Coptic Solidarity on the defensive or distract us from our mission.
Besides media attacks, cyber attacks were launched on our Internet site at critical times in our advocacy work, and on one of our board members (who was also subjected to harassment threats on his person). With help of security experts, these heinous attacks could be traced to “specific addresses” inside Egypt, making the Egyptian government a clear suspect.
We believe that people are too sophisticated to believe such lies, and our confidence in our mission and the correctness of our advocacy methods and strategies will not be shaken. More importantly such tactics by the Egyptian government reflect its unwillingness to address the real problems that tarnish Egypt’s reputation in the world.
What really tarnishes Egypt’s reputation is the discrimination against Copts and other minorities; the Egyptian government’s complicity and indifference to attacks against Copts; , the lack of justice and the mockery of arbitrary reconciliation sessions that deprive the victims of their rights before the law; the state-backed cultural and educational marginalization, the “anti-blasphemy” laws that placate religious bigotry and silence free speech, the lack of appointing Copts in prominent government positions in the armed forces, in the judiciary or in academia; the inability of Copts to freely construct or repair their churches and treating them as second class citizens in their own country.
It is these problems that tarnish Egypt’s reputation not our calls to rectify them.
Here are some facts about Coptic Solidarity:
Coptic Solidarity is a secular independent advocacy organization, founded according to international standards of human rights organizations. Our main goal is to advocate for the Copts’ inalienable rights of true equality as Egyptian citizens, defend against systematic discrimination and the violent persecution they endure.
Coptic Solidarity supports efforts for a secular state in Egypt, and promotes positive developments in Egypt such as equality, and liberty for all citizens. We also hold Egyptian authorities accountable for their acts.
Coptic Solidarity is not a political opposition group to Egypt’s regimes, but a watchdog over events and policies related to human rights in Egypt; we help increase awareness of the situation of Copts in Egypt; and solicit the support of international public opinion and policy makers.
Coptic Solidarity is only accountable to its members. Our organization receives no directives or finances from any government or government-related entities. The leadership of Coptic Solidarity is composed of high caliber and dedicated professionals who discharge their responsibilities according to the organization’s bylaws.
Coptic Solidarity is funded primarily through the contributions of our board members and generous supporters. We have never received foreign or domestic government funds.
Coptic Solidarity’s leadership and supporters stand firmly behind Egypt and the world’s existential battle against Islamist terrorism. We strongly believe that an Egypt that is free and just for all could overcome regressive forces and create a modern, prosperous society. We urge Egyptian authorities, with the support of the global community, to take genuine steps towards achieving such a society.