Thousands gathered in Sydney on Sunday to protest the surge of violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt.
‘It is an outrage what has happened to your community, it is an outrage which should cry out to heaven for rectification,’ opposition leader Tony Abbott said in Sydney on Sunday.
‘We stand with you … we share your grief, we share your upset, we share your concerns,’ said immigration Minister Chris Bowen, who also attended Sunday’s protest.
‘All members of the Egyptian community, be they Coptic or non-Coptic, should be able to look to the government of Egypt and the army of Egypt in times of trouble for protection.’
The Australian government has previously said that it would extend visas for Egyptians affected by the recent violence.
Australia’s parliament called for an end to Coptic persecution in Egypt in a recent bill addressing the need for protecting religious freedoms in Egypt.
The bill was proposed on September 19, just weeks before violence fanned by sectarian tensions broke out in Cairo, leaving 26 dead and nearly 300 wounded.
It was passed unanimously.
Bishop Suriel, the leader of Australia’s Coptic Christian community of nearly 70,000, has urged Australia to expel its Egyptian ambassador, Omar Metwally Mohamed, in light of the recent violence.
He claimed that the Egyptian ambassador has worked to silence Copts in Australia.