By Coptic Solidarity –
Last week I wrote to you, sharing Coptic Solidarity’s key accomplishments in 2018. I am so grateful for the donations of our friends and supporters enabling us to pursue our mission of achieving equality for Copts in Egypt.
As Coptic Solidarity will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in June 2019, it is a significant time to reflect on the ideas that will guide our growth in the coming decade. Despite our limited resources, we at Coptic Solidarity want to share the major ideas that shape our advocacy efforts.
- Copts are the indigenous Christians of Egypt and should have full equality and citizenship rights as all other Egyptians.
- Copts should not live as second-class citizens, or as Dhimms under the protection of the Muslim majority.
- The Egyptian Constitution is inherently discriminatory against all religious minorities by requiring legislation to be consistent with Shari’a law – Article 2
- Religious freedom should not be confused with tolerance or reduced to allowing minimum worship rights. Religious Freedom means the ability to live out the fullness of your convictions and your conscience in every aspect of your life and to speak to others about those convictions.
- Persecution and discrimination against Egypt’s Copts and other minorities are not the responsibility of foreign terrorists, but the result of a homegrown culture of hate and impunity, supported by the Egyptian government and President el-Sisi giving Salafist free reign in every part of the country including mosques, education, and media.
- Combating the Muslim Brotherhood or terrorism and promoting democracy and human rights are not mutually exclusive. It does not justify a complete crackdown press freedom, civil society and human rights organizations, minority religious groups, women’s rights, or LGBT individuals.
- The Coptic Orthodox Church, other Coptic churches, and Christian leaders in Egypt are under immense pressure by the Egyptian government to support el-Sisi publicly at the expense of Coptic rights.
- The Egyptian government’s use of “reconciliation sessions”, refusal to enforce the law, and failure to fully prosecute perpetrators of violence against Copts and their properties has created a culture of impunity and encouraged increasing attacks against Copts in Egypt.
- The use of collective punishment against Coptic communities and forced evacuation of Coptic families for the perceived “crime” of a single individual must end immediately.
- Centuries of persecution have made many Copts adopt a Dhimmi mindset. It is imperative that Copts reject this mindset and actively advocate for their rights in order to achieve equality in their homeland.
I invite you to join Coptic Solidarity and to support our advocacy efforts with your generous donation to help us turn these ideas into policy in 2019. We faithfully steward each donation to maximize the effectiveness of the organization. Coptic Solidarity board members pay for all of their advocacy travel expenses, participation in board meetings, and CS events. In this way, we ensure that each donation goes directly to support our mission.
Wishing you and all your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Dr. George Gurguis
President, Coptic Solidarity