Statement on Botrosiya Church Bombing near St Mark’s Cathedral, Cairo

Botrosiya image

Another cowardly attack on the Coptic Church and Community in Egypt. The death toll as at 16/02/2017 is 29. The media release below was sent out on the same day of the event. We have re-posted it again following a website glitch. 

12 December 2016

The Australian Coptic Movement Association is aghast at, and condemns in the strongest terms, the recent deplorable and unjustifiable bombing near the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of St Mark in Cairo, the seat of the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria.

At the time of writing this statement, this heinous blast claimed the lives of 22 innocent people. Thirty-five others have been injured in the most brazen attack on Copts since the infamous beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya. This is not to mention the other regrettable incidents that have occurred lately, the most notorious of which involved the parading of a naked elderly woman by a mob on the basis of a rumour that her son was involved in an affair with a woman.

Statements from the Australian Coptic Movement condemning reprehensible or deadly incidents involving innocent Copts have become depressingly familiar since this Association was formed in 2010. It is deeply saddening and demoralising that the scourge of violence and intimidation continues to afflict our community in the Middle East and North Africa.

An attack near the holiest site in Coptic Christianity as well as near the Pyramids starkly illustrates that there are significant security risks which must be urgently addressed by the Egyptian government. The paramount responsibility of the State is to ensure the safety of its citizens. It is trite to state that Egyptians will not feel safe if incidents like these continue to occur, whether in the capital or elsewhere in Egypt.

Rhetoric unaccompanied by substantive and meaningful action will be not sufficient to quell the frustrations of a besieged community that is slowly becoming disenchanted and disillusioned with the current administration. There is no doubt that the current El-Sisi administration has made promising overtures of a new dawn in Egypt after the catastrophic rule of the incompetent Morsi regime. Nevertheless, Copts, as well as liberal and moderate Egyptians of all faiths and ethnicities, have been patiently waiting for outcomes which have hitherto yet to be delivered and for some, after three tumultuous years, their patience is wearing thin.

Notwithstanding, the Coptic community is resilient. We have faced innumerable challenges in our history and have managed to navigate them successfully. We will not be intimidated or cowered by disgraceful and mindboggling attacks such as the bombing which occurred today or by any form of vitriol and vituperation. We will not be silent in our demand for a free and liberal society governed by the rule of law; a society where the indigenous people of Egypt are treated equally with all other ethnicities and faiths and are able to participate in it on an equal footing with others.

The Egyptian society that is based on respect for, and observance of, fundamental and inalienable rights as well as equality for all will benefit all Egyptians regardless of creed, gender or ethnicity. It is self-evident that Egypt will never realise its innate potential as long as it is gripped by quagmires and internal divisions that stymie social progress and economic development. This attack was not just an attack on the Coptic community. It was an attack on all Egyptians who believe in the absolute necessity of protecting fundamental and inalienable rights of each person – a commitment that the El-Sisi administration purportedly made when it accepted to be elected to the UN Human Rights Council. It will be astonishing for Egypt, after its election to the UN Council for Human Rights, to ignore, dismiss or be nonchalant about the rights and expectations of a significant ethno-religious minority in the Middle East and North Africa. Quite simply, it is incumbent upon all to work together for the good of Egypt, a country that has given so much to civilisation.

ACM extends its deepest and sincerest condolences to the families of victims of today’s attack as well as the victims of the recent attack near the Pyramids. We pray for peace and prosperity in our beloved ancestral homeland which gave refuge to Christ Himself.

For media enquiries email aucopticmovement@gmail.com

The Australian Coptic Movement Association

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