Australian Coptic Movement condemns latest attack on Copts in Egypt. Calls for swift action.

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ACM condemns the latest incident in Minya, Egypt, where a mob of roughly 300 individuals set several Coptic Christian homes ablaze and stripped a 70 years old Coptic Christian woman naked and paraded her around the streets in response to a rumour. 

The Australian Coptic Movement Association (ACM) strongly condemns the latest incident in Minya, Egypt, where a mob of roughly 300 individuals set several Coptic Christian homes ablaze and stripped a 70 years old Coptic Christian woman naked and paraded her around the streets in response to a rumour that her son was having an affair with a Muslim woman.

No justification can be provided for robbing an elderly woman of her dignity in this manner. It is, quite simply, abhorrent and to suggest otherwise is, quite frankly, absurd and irrational. Moreover, the wanton destruction of property in response to a mere rumour simply beggars belief. In a civilised nation, people, however provoked, do not engage in such acts.

This incident has occurred amidst a backdrop of demonstrable efforts by the current Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to unite Egyptians around a common identity and purpose. Earlier this year, the Egyptian President made an appearance at Coptic Christmas celebrations in St Mark’s Cathedral and promised to rebuild the homes of Coptic Christians that were destroyed following the ouster of Mr Morsi from office in response to the popular will of the Egyptian people. The Egyptian President has stressed that there is to be no division between Egyptians based on religion. He has called for a reform of fundamentalist thinking that sows discord instead of bridging divides. In essence, he has endeavoured to be an inclusive President that has made distinct overtures to Coptic Christians, the largest ethno-religious minority in the Middle East and North Africa, to make them feel they belong in their own homeland.

It is therefore saddening that despite his valiant efforts, incidents like this still occur in Egypt. There is no question that fundamental and inalienable human rights were violated in this incident. Egypt, a cradle of civilisation, will not be able to grow and realise its full potential if an incident such as this continues to occur; respect for individual dignity and respect for individual property rights are essential.

ACM acknowledges and commends the Egyptian President for calling for the perpetrators of this regrettable incident to be swiftly brought to justice and for the homes of Coptic Christians that were destroyed to be rebuilt at the expense of the Egyptian State. ACM also supports his Holiness Pope Tawadros II’s call for restraint; this incident cannot be allowed to stir up sectarian divisions.

We echo the sentiments of His Grace, Dr Bishop Anba Suriel where HG demanded the following:

“These criminals must be brought to justice and the relevant authorities of this province who were negligent should be sacked and prosecuted immediately including the governor of Minya and his executive team”.

We strongly urge the Egyptian government led by President Sisi to ensure that justice is dispensed in this incident as a deterrent. Individuals cannot be allowed to carry out such reprehensible acts with impunity. A failure to do so on the part of the Minya authorities will have negative repercussions; it will demonstrate a disturbing disregard for human dignity on their part and embolden individuals to engage in such activities with the knowledge that the authorities will turn a blind eye. To use a trite expression: justice must be done and, importantly, must be seen to be done.

Media enquiries to 0418-331-213 Email: aucopticmovement@gmail.com

The Australian Coptic Movement Association

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