Australian Coptic Movement End of Year Statement 2015

ACM New Year meme

It has been another busy year for The Australian Coptic Movement Association (ACM). ACM organised and participated in many events including the Martin Place rally in February to condemn and protest ISIS attacks against Egyptian Christians in Libya. Unfortunately there are reports of ongoing attacks against Copts in the region which have not been well reported on. In recent weeks, ACM and members played a major role in saving the historic Coptic Church in Sydenham, Sydney, from demolition.  

2015 has been a year that unfortunately has been marked by tragedy. More than 20 Coptic Christians were beheaded in Libya in a savage and barbaric display by ISIL-affiliated individuals. The civil war in Syria has created a burgeoning humanitarian crisis with beleaguered Christian communities experiencing the brunt of the civil war. Tourists who were travelling home after visiting the idyllic Sharm el-Sheikh were murdered. People merely enjoying a concert or sitting in a restaurant or cafe were killed without compunction in heinous acts of terror that shocked the country of liberty, equality and fraternity. The unlit Eiffel Tower at night in the city of lights symbolised the sombre mood as the world tried to come to grips with this horrendous tragedy.

Nevertheless, the radiant star of hope continues to burn brightly.  We saw the world come together in unison to show its solidarity for the victims in Paris when the world’s landmarks were lit in red, blue and white, including the Opera House and the Pyramids. We saw compassion when Australia accepted Syrian refugees with priority being given to persecuted minorities. The beheading of the Coptic Christians symbolised the Coptic Church – a Church where so many of its adherents have offered themselves as a witness to Christ. Those individuals did not fear death. Instead, with steely resolves, the last word that they uttered was the name of their God and Saviour. And when their deaths were announced, the Egyptian government considered this heinous act to be an attack on all Egyptians – uniting Egyptians when those inhumane killers wanted to sow discord and division.

It is difficult to encapsulate in a short statement what ACM hopes from 2016. ACM wholeheartedly believes that its desire for a safer, more peaceful and more prosperous world is shared by all people of good will and conscience. We should take comfort in the fact that, as the Gospel of St John said, the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

ACM wishes everyone a happy, prosperous and safe 2016.

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