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Coptic Solidarity Launches Voter Registration Campaign for American Copts – Christian NewsWire
(Washington, DC) February 14, 2020

Earlier this week, Coptic Solidarity launched a new campaign called “Copt the Vote,” which promotes Coptic voter registration and participation in the US Census. Copts in the US are not typically politically active, causing their community to be seriously under-represented in the US. As such, Coptic issues in Egypt continue to be overlooked  and often  misrepresented by American policy makers.

According to the 2010 U.S. Religion Census, just over 92,000 Copts reside in the US—a remarkably low number considering that the US Coptic population now exceeds half a million.

Having an accurate census would greatly empower diaspora Copts to make their voices heard in US policy, including on behalf of Copts in Egypt who currently live as second class if not persecuted citizens.

Copts and Political Engagement in Egypt

Copts first started immigrating to the US in larger numbers following the 1952 coup. Nasser’s promotion of Arab nationalism quickly resulted in suppression of the Copts’ role in society and an increase in persecution from Muslims.

Copts continued to immigrate ever since, as they, indeed most Egyptians, had little opportunity to engage politically—the residual effects of which were to breed apathy amongst diaspora Copts.  Once they arrived in the US, other factors such as language acquisition, securing employment, establishing churches and roots within communities, and raising families were all necessary and higher priorities for new immigrants.

Political freedom and mobilization for Copts appears a bleak prospect in Egypt. They are now under one of the most severe authoritarian crackdowns on political opposition, civil rights, human rights, and  against any individual who dares criticize el-Sisi’s government. One need only consider the plight of Coptic activist Ramy Kamel who has now been imprisoned for more than 80 days, merely for documenting abuses against Copts and sharing them with UN Special Commissioners and on his blog.

Political Opportunity in the US
Older American Copts have less experience with political engagement. This has, in part, been a major source of disconnect between Copts in Egypt, and those in the diaspora, particularly for individuals who immigrated more than a few years ago because the level of social hostility and governmental pressure on Copts has created conditions that older immigrants can hardly believe. In other words, only very recent immigrants can speak accurately of true conditions for Copts in Egypt, the level of hatred, and the increasingly common attacks on and murders of Copts.

Younger generations, many of which were born in America and raised with the values of a representative democracy, are more interested in social issues and activism. Indeed, Copts in the US have achieved incredible success academically and professionally such as Golden Globe winner, Rami Malek, and businesswoman and former member of the presidential administration, Dina Powell. Copts in the US demonstrate the heights to which Copts can soar when not living under systematic discrimination and persecution as they do in Egypt.

Copts in Western countries such as the US have the ability to become engaged. They have the education, resources, positions, and numbers to impact American policy and society. As many other immigrant communities have done—Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians— Copts can also run for office, influence their local communities and the trajectory of US policy towards their home nation.  But first they must be willing to grasp the opportunity.  Coptic Solidarity president, Ms. Caroline Doss Esq. stated, “Make your voice count and go vote.  Become politically active.  Our people in Egypt need you.”

Coptic Solidarity is partnering with  local communities to host voter registration events. To learn more and become involved, contact coptadvocacy@copticsolidarity.org  Coptic Solidarity is utilizing resources and a registration form provided by Rock the Vote. Coptic Solidarity is a non-partisan, non-profit advocating equal citizenship rights for the Copts in Egypt. We do not align with a particular political party, and instead work with politicians from both sides of the aisle to get things done. We will not receive any personal contact information when individuals register to vote.

Coptic Solidarity is an organization seeking to help minorities, particularly the Copts, of Egypt. We support those in Egypt working for democracy, freedom, and the protection of the fundamental rights of all Egyptian citizens, and advocate in cooperation with the affiliated organizations in Canada and in Europe (Solidarité Copte). For more information, contact Lindsay Griffin at 801-512-1713 or coptadvocacy@copticsolidarity.org

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