Statement of European Union of Coptic Organisations
For Human Rights
The Barbaric attacks on the Church of Virgin St. Mary and a Anba Ibraam,
Ain Shams, Cairo
The European Union of Coptic Organisations for Human Rights (EUCHOR) condemns in the strongest terms the barbaric attacks on the Church of Virgin Mary and Anba Abraam, Ain Shams, Cairo.
Events that took place on Sunday, November 23, 2008 followed the call through the loud speakers from the Imam of El-Nour mosque opposite the church to invite the people of the area men young, old and women, to attack the new church and to carry out acts of violence against the Christians. The Imam warned that the prayers for the Eid al-Adha starting from today and would continue until the Day feast day, on December 8, 2008.
As a result of this invitation to the Muslims, thousands of Muslim fanatics surrounded the church and hurled stones and Molotov cocktails, denouncing Christians worship and refusing the existence of a church in the area. They chanted slogans expressing their hatred of the Church and Christians and chanted that "Islam is the solution", "Khyber Khyber o Jews, Islam shall return" and other slogans inciting hatred against Christians and Jews. This violence was directed by people who are government employees and two Muslim Brothers MPs.
The security forces prevented the Christian worshipers from praying as this was considered provocative to Muslims and asked Christians to leave the church as "there was no presidential permit for its conversion/ construction".
The “Union” reminds the Egyptian government and all state departments to act in good faith to meet its international obligations and the "Declaration of Principles on Tolerance" UNSCO on 16 November 1995 and the «Declaration of the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief Intolerance" United Nations on 25 November 1981.
The “Union” declares its rejection of Authoritarian Dogmatism and calls for the application of the international standards set forth in human rights treaties to be taken seriously and its desire to see positive steps in recognizing the rights of Christian Egyptian citizens to enjoy their rights to practice their religious rites and the building of churches without security restrictions.
The “Union” rejects the closure of the church by the security services to appease the feelings of Muslim protesters on the pretext of maintaining social peace and not to ignite sedition
The “Union” strongly condemns all public officials government agents and unofficial individuals who exercised maximum degree of religious discrimination and intolerance towards Christianity, which constitutes a crime of cultural, moral and material genocide against the Copts.
The “Union” calls upon the Egyptian government to guarantee justice to all Egyptians, Muslims, Jews and Christians and to avoid discrimination in administrative and security procedure to build places of worship also to show justice when arresting individuals, and call upon the government to show justice and courage by stopping the atrocious practice of balancing arresting the perpetrators of violence by arresting innocent people from the other side or religion to appease Islamists or to show its self as conducting a balanced act as by law an innocent person must not be criminalized for political reasons.
The “Union” calls upon the government also to stop avoiding arresting the real criminals because of their power or connections.
The “Union” demands the release of the three innocent Christians who were falsely accused of riot while the church was attacked by thousands.
The “Union” reminds the Egyptian government that they will have a day of international accountability “Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review”, in early 2010.
The Union decided that individuals, member organizations and other organizations involved, within the context of human rights agenda, to document all barbaric attacks on the property, churches and services buildings and other violations of the rights of Egyptian Coptic Christians citizens.
The Union is providing material assistance and moral and legal counsel for victims and families of the victims of the attack.
President of the European Union of Coptic organizations for Human Rights (EUCHOR)
Dr. Awad Chafik
The European Union of Coptic organizations members
1 - Coptic Foundation for Human Rights (Switzerland)
2 - United Copts of Great Britain (England)
3 - The Dutch Coptic Association
4 - The Coptic European French Association.
5 - Friends of the Copts (France)
6 - French Coptic Youth Association
7 - The Austrian Coptic Association, Graz.
8 - Coptic integration in Austrian Society
9 - Coptic Cultural Center (Greece)
10 - The Coptic Association (Sweden)
11 - The German Coptic Association
12 - The Coptic Irish Association
13 – The Hungarian Coptic Association.
Association Co-operating with the « EUCHOR »
1 - Coptic Foundation for Legal Assistance (America).
2 - The Middle East Christian Association (Canada) to provide all records and proceedings of the attack.
3 - The Free Copts