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Report on the Plight of Christians in Egypt

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  • The 2010 Naga Hammadi massacre which was carried out on the eve of January 7, 2010, at the hands of Muslim gunmen in front of the cathedral, as Coptic Christians were leaving the church after celebrating the midnight Christmas mass resulting in the murder of eight Copts and one Muslim bystander.

The Press Office of the Catholic Church in Egypt and spokesman of the seven Catholic denominations that are present in the country, headed by Father Rafic Greiche released a communiqué following the January 2011 Alexandria bombing listing nine demands.

  1. The immediate arrest of the criminals and their judgment in court.
  2. Dealing severely with all agitators and agents provocateurs that directly or indirectly encourage fanatic actions through the newspapers, the media or preaching.
  3. The immediate adoption of a law for the protection of all religious buildings.
  4. The immediate adoption of a personal status law for Christians.
  5. The adoption of a law that forbids religious discrimination and severely punishes anyone who breaks this law.
  6. Reassertion of the civic foundations of the state, based on equal citizenship.
  7. Complete restructuring of the educational program and curricula to purge them of what is related to discrimination.
  8. In-depth action against negative attitudes of religious leaders to prevent them from encouraging sectarianism.
  9. Encouragement by the state of democratic life and protection of freedom of expression and belief.

Copts complain that the Egyptian government and the Egyptian judicial system are doing little to punish such attacks on the Coptic community, failing to prosecute the criminals, and thus leading to further oppression of the Copts. All the criminals responsible for the 2001 Kosheh killing, (a village 300 miles south of Cairo in southern Egypt’s Sohag governate where 21 Christians were killed and 260 homes and businesses destroyed or looted), most of whom were children and women, were set free by court order.

Women

Coptic women and girls are sometimes abducted, forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men. In April 2010, a bipartisan group of 17 members of the U.S. Congress expressed concern to the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Office about Coptic women who faced physical and sexual violence, captivity, exploitation in forced domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation, and financial benefit to the individuals who secure the forced conversion of the victim.





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