ACM Statement – 10 October 2011
The fall of President Hosni Mubarak’s Regime post the Egyptian Revolution of 25 January 2011 can hardly be said to have “liberated” the estimated 15 million Coptic Christians of Egypt.
Yet again, peaceful and unarmed Coptic protestors have been met with a force of unprecedented brutality.
On 9 October 2011, a march by Coptic Christians in Cairo to demand an end to the ongoing persecution and discrimination ended with the deaths of up to 40 Coptic protestors who were beaten, gunned down and bulldozed-over by army tanks in a rampage directed by Egyptian Army personnel, with the assistance of local Islamic extremists. Hundreds more are believed to have been injured. Exact numbers are yet to be confirmed.
The clashes come just over a week after an arson attack on two Coptic Churches in the South of the Country. Coptic protests have been held in Maspero, Cairo over the past month calling for an end to persecution of Coptic Christians.
State television, initially only reporting of two soldier’s deaths, claimed the Military came under fire from Copts. Witnesses on the ground, however, said the march was attacked by “thugs” in plain clothes, who were later joined by the Military.
Live footage captured by eye witnesses validates these claims. (Video footage of Army tanks attacking Protestors is available on YouTube and is included at the end of this statement).
Ahram Online, reported on Sunday 9 Oct 2011, that the Egyptian military attacked Alhurra TV office in Cairo, preventing its daily night program “Alyoum” from going on air to prevent broadcast of the army’s violent attacks on protesters.
Unfortunately, reports of the events of Sunday 9 October in mainstream Australian media (eg. ABC, The Australian), reflect the bias of mainstream Egyptian media sources. The real stories of exactly what is happening in Egypt are not being filtered through.
The Australian Coptic Movement notes the latest attack demonstrates the clear pattern set by the Egyptian Military of participating in and facilitating the obvious ethnic cleansing that Egypt’s Coptic Christians are facing, post the Revolution.
Bishop Suriel, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Australia, is demanding the expulsion of the Egyptian Ambassador, and two Egyptian Consul Generals. In a Statement issued today, Bishop Suriel notes:
“Their presence in Australia is of no meaning to the Coptic community in Australia, in light of the events which have occurred in Egypt, and their subsequent failure to act in a capacity which represents the interests of both the Coptic and Muslim dynamic of the community. They have failed to take a proactive approach to advocate for the rights of the Coptic people in Egypt or to speak out against the atrocities and intense persecution the Coptic people in Egypt are facing.”
The international community will be held accountable if they do not act swiftly on the brutal attacks towards Egypt’s Coptic Christians who are suffering under a modern day form of apartheid where institutionalised discrimination and deadly attacks have a become a way of life for Egypt’s 15 million Copts.
Notably, Mr Craig Kelly (Liberal Federal Member for Hughes) has submitted a motion in support of the Coptic Egyptians. The motion is to be voted on in the House of Representatives this Thursday, 14 October 2011. Attached is an extract of Mr Kelly’s address to the House of Representatives on the Motion (dated 19 September 2011). You can also contact Mr. Kelly on (02) 9521 6262, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ACM will issue another statement in coming days as events are unfolding at the time of this release.
The Australian Coptic Movement