On Friday 25/2/11, The ACM held a meeting with the Hon Tony Abbott MP, Federal Leader of the Opposition and the Member of Warringah. The meeting, which lasted 45 minutes, revolved around the Egyptian Revolution and the Coptic predicament. The Hon Phillip Ruddock MP, Member for Berowra and former Attorney General was also in attendance.It was emphasized the 25 January Egyptian Revolution was a good starting point to wipe out corruption in all facets of Egyptian society and moving towards a true democratic secular State. The issue of ‘Article 2 ‘ of the Egyptian Constitution was raised; ACM made it clear that Article 2 stands against the ideology of a secular State and of basic religious freedom human rights. Adding an additional ‘article’ for religious minorities was highlighted however concerns about Article 2 overriding such an additional were discussed.
Whilst it was agreed that Western powers had little direct influence in reformation process of the Egyptian Constitution and the inclusion of Article 2, Mr. Abbott did however acknowledge the importance of international public pressure and noted that any dealings with countries such as Egypt would be prefaced by a serious consideration of the country’s compliance with international human rights standards.
ACM also raised the issue of the persecution of Copts and Christians in the Middle East and queried the Coalition’s stance on its refugee programs for Christians who were fleeing persecution. Mr. Abbott and Mr. Ruddock assured the ACM that their concern was to safeguard the basic human rights of Christians who were targeted simply for their religious beliefs, and indeed any other religious or ethnic minority groups that were targeted in their homelands. There was a mutual consensus that people deserved the basic right of freedom of worship and to practice their faith without the threat of discrimination or abuse.
The ACM has recently met with officials on both sides of politics on both State and Federal levels.
We pray for the peace and safety of Australia and Egypt.
Australian Coptic Movement