Australian Coptic Movement Statement on Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt

Tanta and Alex

The Coptic Community around the world is once again mourning another devastating attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt. The death toll from the two bombings at St George (Tanta) and St Mark’s (Alexandria) is approaching 50 and hundreds more injured. We convey our sincere condolences to the hundreds of families affected by these heinous events and pray that the Lord Jesus Christ grants them comfort. 

It is with a heavy heart that we write this statement. Indeed, we have delayed in publishing this statement simply because it has been difficult to put our thoughts and emotions into words: our pain and sorrow are ineffable.

The Coptic diaspora is in a state of melancholy. The Australian Coptic Movement is exasperated that we have to condemn yet again tragic events that have struck the very heart of our community. We are, quite simply,
sickened by reports that peaceful worshippers attending mass on Palm Sunday were killed for exercising their inalienable and fundamental right of religious worship.

The Coptic community in Australia is fortunate to live in an inclusive nation which respects religious pluralism and which protects the rights of religious minorities to worship in peace. Unfortunately, our besieged community in our ancestral homeland cannot attend mass without the threat of a terrorist attack hanging over their heads despite concerted efforts by the Egyptian government to combat the scourge of terrorism. The catastrophic events that occurred on Palm Sunday in Tanta and Alexandria testify to this. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the holiest week in Coptic Christianity, the week of Pascha. This week commemorates the life of Christ and culminates in the celebration of His Resurrection. The timing and scale of these devastating and deplorable atrocities are calculated to adversely impact our community’s morale and to inhibit the Coptic community’s capacity to joyfully celebrate the most important week in its religious calendar. These events have struck us profoundly. But our community is resilient. We will not be intimidated or paralysed by fear.

We strongly urge the Egyptian government to take all reasonable, necessary and proportionate measures to combat the scourge of terrorism and to ensure the safety of Coptic Christians and all peace-loving Egyptians.

The Egyptian government must swiftly bring those responsible for orchestrating these attacks to account for their actions in order to send a clear message of deterrence. Those individuals who are involved in these monstrosities must face the consequences for showing complete and flagrant disregard for
the sanctity of life. The rhetoric of national unity must be accompanied with meaningful and substantive action which demonstrates that Coptic Christians have a place in modern Egypt.

The Australian Coptic Movement appreciates the Prime Minister of Australia’s condemnation of these incidents, messages of support from politicians across the political spectrum as well as from the Australian community at large.

These messages of support help immensely.

The Australian Coptic Movement Association

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