ACM Conference, Sydney – “The Coptic Revolution”

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Following several protests,  vigils and political lobbying campaigns, the Australian Coptic Movement (ACM) hosted its first ever conference titled “the Coptic Revolution” on Saturday 9th July 2011 in Sydney.The conference was officially opened by the very Rev. Fr Tadros Simon, the vicar of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Sydney. Following a welcome by Chairman of the ACM, Mr Peter Tadros, the line up of speakers was impressive, with special guest speaker, Fr Mattias Nasr from Egypt speaking to the approximately 150 attendees of his ‘Maspero experience’.

Other guests included Mr David Armstrong,  who with over 6 years experience working for Amnesty International, shared his insights on engaging human rights organisations in our campaigning efforts. He also screened a very moving short documentary which he produced, using footage from his visit to Egypt with Open Doors in 2009.

Mr Peter Day, an experienced Sydney journalist, news correspondent and writer (currently writing a book on the subject of Coptic persection), shared his experiences and ideas on how to engage the Australian media for coverage of the issue of persecution of Christians in Egypt.

As a prominent member of the Coptic community with a Doctorate in Psychology, Dr Eman Sharobeem, manager of the Immmigrant Women’s Health Service and Commissioner of the NSW Community Relations Commission, gave her insights on the profile of the Coptic Community in Australia.

From the political arena, Mr Craig Kelly MP, Liberal Federal Member for Hughes spoke about his recent efforts to bring the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt to the attention of the Australian Government.

Mr Kelly read out a motion that he has tabled in Parliament and which will be debated on when Parliament resumes on 22 August 2011.  If passed, the motion calls on Australian House of Representatives to:

recognise that Coptic Christians are suffering persecution in Egypt;

condemn recent attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt;

express sympathy to Copts who have fallen victim to recent attacks;

call on the Government to:

issue a public statement condemning the ongoing attacks against Copts in Egypt;

make immediate representations to the United Nations to end persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt; and

strongly urge the Egyptian Government to provide equal rights and protections for all Egyptian citizens, regardless of race or religion.

Mr Kelly urged all attendees to write to their local Federal Members and in particular the 3 Independent members of Parliament (Bob Katter, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor) in support of the motion.

The conference sparked much discussion among its participants, both during the panel session and following the conclusion of the Conference.

The day was a great success. The ACM thanks all who contributed to the organisation of the event.

Below are some interviews conducted with the speakers and audience.

The Australian Coptic Movement

aucopticmovement@gmail.com

www.auscma.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxacPglBWhM  (English)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMxyjFIxfDE      (Arabic)

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