Spike in Attacks against Egyptian Coptic Christians

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Washington, D.C. (ICC) -- The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.persecution.org has learned that a recent increase in attacks against Egypt’s Coptic Christians has prompted various Christian groups to organize demonstrations condemning fanatic Muslims engaging in these attacks and the officials of the Egyptian government who have failed to protect Christians against such attacks.

This spike in attacks has resulted in the death of four Christians, the destruction of several churches, the kidnapping of four Christians, and the ransacking of their properties:

Four Egyptian Christians were gunned down when a jewelry shop belonging to one of them was attacked by two masked men. No one has yet been arrested for this attack that took place on May 28, 2008.

On May 31, sixty well-armed Muslims assaulted the historic Abu Fana monastery near Minya. Besides causing damage to the property of the 4th century monastery, the fundamentalist Muslims kidnapped three monks and one Coptic farmer during the attack. The monks were tortured and pressured to convert to Islam. They refused and were eventually released, but the Coptic farmer is still missing.

On June 20, Muslim fundamentalists carried out large scale attacks on Christians in the village of al-Nazla. Cars, homes and businesses belonging to Coptic Christians were ransacked and the windows of a Coptic church shattered. The attack was the result of a rumor circulating that a Christian woman who converted to Islam was abducted by her Christian family.

This rise in attacks against Christians in Egypt is being fueled by the growth of the radical Wahhabi Islam propagated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Wahhabi Islam is highly intolerant towards Christians and other minorities and encourages violence against them.

Though the attacks against Christians are perpetrated by fanatic Muslims, the officials of the government of Egypt have at times failed to prevent the attacks when they could. In most cases, after the attacks occur, the police fail to bring the perpetrators to justice. The perpetrators are therefore encouraged to carry out further attacks with impunity.

Enraged over the widespread attacks and the failure of the Egyptian government to protect its Christian minority, various Christian organizations are planning to hold demonstrations in Washington, D.C. and New York City. International Christian Union and American Coptic Association are organizing a demonstration in Washington, D.C., which will be held in front of the White House on Wednesday, July 16 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Another demonstration, being organized by the Voice of the Copts in New York City, will be held in front of the United Nations and Egyptian Consulate in New York on Wednesday, July 23 at 12:00 pm.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Darara Gubo, said, “Egypt has an international obligation to protect its Christian minority against attacks by fanatic Muslims. Egyptian authorities must carry out their obligations by prosecuting the perpetrators of such attacks.”

ICC calls upon those concerned about religious freedom for Egypt’s Christian minority to join the rallies in Washington, D.C. and New York City. By attending these rallies Christians will get the opportunity to highlight the plight of their brothers and sisters in Egypt.

You can also call the Egyptian embassy in your country. Please politely ask the Egyptian embassy officials to protect Christians against attacks.

Egyptian Embassies

Country       Phone   Fax
  202-895-5400    202-244-4319   Embassy@egyptembassy.net
  613-234-4931    (613) 234-4398   egyptemb@sympatico.ca, egypt4931@rogers.com
  020-7499-2401 / 499 3304    020-7491-1542   info@egpressoffice.com
  (61 2) 9281-4844    612-9281-4344   info@egypt.org.au
  030-477-5470    030-477-1049   Embassy@egyptian-embassy.de