United Copts of Great Britain
For Immediate Release
26th February 2010
Contact: info@unitedcopts. Tel +447976710729
On 6th January 2010, as they left the church after the Christmas Midnight Mass, six Copts were gunned down and killed in a drive-by shooting in Naga Hammadi, a town in southern Egypt.6th January 2010, as they left the church after the Christmas Midnight Mass, six Copts were gunned down and killed in a drive-by shooting in Naga Hammadi, a town in southern Egypt.
Early in the morning of January 8th, in a move to silence the Coptic community’s protests, the police of Naga Hammadi began door-to-door arrests of Coptic men in their late teens and early twenties. Reports vary on the numbers arrested, but fifteen have been confirmed. They remain detained without charge, to date.
The massacre of 6th January has attracted worldwide condemnation and criticism of the Egyptian government, who failed on countless occasions to protect the Christian minority against persecution and murder. During Mubarak’s presidency, there have been 160 similar attacks on Christians and their homes and churches, in which 400 Christians have lost their lives. In spite of the loss of life and the destruction of Christian homes, businesses and churches, not a single person has ever been prosecuted. The perpetrators enjoy impunity.
The Copts (Christians of Egypt) living in the West were outraged by the latest incident of Naga Hammadi. They staged huge demonstrations all over the world to condemn the Egyptian government and ask world leaders to put pressure on the Egyptian government to protect Christians and bring the perpetrators to justice.
As a result of condemnation and pressure by foreign governments, two weeks after the incident, President Mubarak of Egypt announced that the perpetrators of sectarian violence will be dealt with firmly and swiftly.
His words were received with great scepticism from the Copts who know all too well that President Mubarak has turned a blind eye to their persecution and killing for almost thirty years. However, they were ready to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Their fears that Mubarak’s words were empty rhetoric were realized only a few days later.
On 9th February 2010, in the village of Teta of Menoufia Province, northern Egypt, another Christian was killed- this time by a policeman on duty. The policeman was guarding a building which had been used by the Christians for Sunday School for almost 15 years. Just one day after the Naga Hammadi massacre, the police cordoned off the building and stopped the Christians from using it because- according to them- the place was used for prayer and Christian prayer is not allowed without a license. On the day of the incident, a 25 year old unarmed Christian man, Malak Saad, had an argument with the policeman preventing the Christians from using the building. The policeman put his gun to the man’s chest, firing a single bullet which killed him instantly. This was witnessed by many onlookers. A few hours later, the Ministry of Interior released a statement that the Christian man had been killed by mistake while the policeman was cleaning his gun and a bullet accidentally released. This means that the policeman who deliberately killed the Christian man will not be brought to justice.
In another example, on 22nd February 2010, in the village of Dairout of Assiut province, four men who killed their Christian neighbour using machine guns then mutilated his body, were acquitted in court. The victim had received over 30 bullets and was then decapitated.
These recent incidents prove that President Mubarak’s words were merely to subdue Christian outrage and pressure from the outside world, and that he was not serious about prosecuting the perpetrators of crimes against Christians. These incidents give Muslims the green light to attack and kill Christians without fear of prosecution.
We, the Christians of Egypt, call upon all politicians in the civilised world to continue putting pressure on Mubarak and his government to show seriousness in protecting the lives of Christians and their rights to practice their religion in peace without fear of violence against them.
The United Copts of Great Britain condemns the barbaric killing and the attack on the innocent Christians as they were leaving their place of worship and reminds the Egyptian government of its obligation to treat all citizens equally, to provide peace and security to all citizens, to stop the police bias against the Copts and this time to show seriousness in prosecuting the perpetrators of violence.