Egyptian Minority Must be Protected From Attacks

Target: The Egyptian Military Leadership

Goal: The Egyptian Military must protect Christian minorities from attacks.

The Copts, a Christian minority in Egypt that makes up about 10% of the population, has been increasingly under attack from a violent fringe group of President Morsi’s supporters in the wake of his ouster from power. No Egyptian deserves to live in fear because his religious beliefs make him a target for violence and no religious observer should see his place of worship desecrated and burned down. Therefore, the military should maintain a continuous presence around Coptic churches and neighborhoods so that they are ready to respond to provocations at all times. What is at stake here are not only the lives of the Copts, but their very right to continue living in their homeland. Many have been virtually banished, driven by fear to flee abroad.

With such violence to contend with, no wonder some are considering immigration. Angry at Coptic pope Tawadros’ backing of President Morsi’s removal from power,  some of his supporters have directed their rage at the Christian community. The Copts have had to contend with a spate of violent attacks resulting in numerous casualties as well as damage to their homes, businesses, and places of worship. A mob also murdered four people and wounded three others in the village of Nag Hassan in the Luxor Province, while setting fire to 16 homes and businesses. Three days earlier, Copts in the Delgia village in the Minya province were likewise subjected to mob violence. The mob torched St. George’s Church and fired at the Al Saleh church, attacking and looting nearby homes and businesses. In El-Arish, North Sinai province, masked men gunned down the priest Mina Aboud Cheroubim.

By signing this petition, you will encourage the Egyptian military to take responsibility for ensuring the security of the Copt community and preventing acts of violence such as those described above.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Leader of the Egyptian Military,

The attacks that the Copts have had to put up with recently have affected their very dignity as human beings. The very least a country owes its citizens is the basic feeling of security, the assurance that they won’t be personally assaulted and that their homes, businesses, and places of worship won’ t be threatened. Forcing the Copts to emigrate because they have reason to fear death or serious injury as targets of religious persecution is an intolerable outcome for a fledgling democracy. No democracy can survive if the rights of some of its citizens are blatantly disrespected and violence is given free reign.

Therefore it only makes sense that a military or police presence should be provided for Coptic churches and residential areas that are liable to be attacked by extremists. Whether worshipers are at home, in their shops or congregated for prayer, they shouldn’t be anxious about their safety. A strong military or police presence in Copt neighborhoods might at least partially put these worries at rest. When attackers are pushed back by the army or the police, they are less likely to succeed in inflicting casualties and property damage. If such security were present earlier, perhaps we wouldn’t have seen the murder of the priest Mina Aboud Cheroubim in El-Arish, North Sinai nor would we have witnessed a mob murdering four people and wounding three in the village of Nag Hassan in the Luxor Province. Likewise, St George’s Church in the Delgia village might not have been torched.

We urge you to take action to provide a strong military or police presence near Coptic churches and in Coptic neighborhoods so that the Copts may feel safe in their homes, businesses, and places of worship.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: By Athanasius 77 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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