Brutal abuse of Coptic Christians in Egypt

With all the media attention on the dramatic crisis of President Mubarak’s government in Egypt, and nightly television coverage of street battles, it’s all too easy to lose sight of another, longer-term tragedy in the country — the persistent abuse and persecution of Coptic Christians.  This was brought to international attention by the New Year’s Day bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria, when 21 Copts  were killed and many more injured, but it rapidly faded from the headlines and the world’s consciousness as the latest crisis unfolded.
I must admit the issue hadn’t been at the top of my mind, but on Tuesday I attended a meeting hosted by my friend Peter van Dalen, a fellow ECR MEP from the Netherlands, on the treatment of Copts in Egypt. This event, attended by a number of Coptic leaders from around the world, opened my eyes to the problem. The Copts fear that the latest unrest will leave them even more vulnerable.
Copts in Egypt face systemic discrimination.  They find it impossible to obtain senior jobs in either the public or private sectors.  But probably the most atrocious persecution is faced by Coptic women.  As non-Muslims, they are easily recognisable in the street without a headscarf.  There are repeated cases of Coptic women being abducted, raped, forced to convert to the Muslim faith and forced to marry Muslims.  These tragic women may never see their families again.  In the worst cases, they may be murdered.
If they manage to escape from forced and abusive marriages, they still face fearful problems.  Having once been forced to convert, their identity papers are registered as Muslim, and there is no way they can re-convert and be officially recognised.  They can therefore not marry a Christian, since mixed marriages are illegal.  If they have children, the children cannot be registered or educated.
The police refuse to accept or investigate offences by Muslims against Copts.  Indeed there are cases of Coptic women seeking to lodge a police complaint against abuse, who are then abused by the police themselves.  This discrimination is both endemic and systemic.  There have been scores of Coptic Christians murdered, as well as widespread attacks on Churches and Monasteries.
Here in Brussels, our Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Tannock MEP is raising this issue urgently with the EU’s “High Representative” (aka Foreign Minister) Cathy Ashton.  But sadly Baroness Ashton has shown a dilatory attitude to the world in general, and almost no interest at all in speaking up for Christians who are increasingly persecuted in many countries.

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8 Responses to Brutal abuse of Coptic Christians in Egypt

  1. Sean O'Hare says:

    Speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting of leaders from the EU’s 27 members, Catherine Ashton said it was up to Egypt to work out how the transition to a more democratic form of government can be accomplished

    Oh the irony!

  2. An excellent post – informative, interesting and pertinent. Well, Christian persecution continues to be most severe in countries where there is an Islamic government. The true extent of Christian persecution throughout the world, is routinely ignored or distorted by mainstream media. From what I have ascertained, Christians in North Korea are currently experiencing some of the most difficult and degrading conditions. Right now, the persecuted Christians require actions rather than just rhetoric. Perhaps, sanctions should be imposed by world governments, on countries where Christian persecution is most prevalent? Particularly, in regard to the sale of weapons, armaments technology or ammunition?

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Brutal abuse of Coptic Christians in Egypt « Roger Helmer MEP --

  4. raymond jones says:

    The out to get Christians,The British government have been attacking Christian influance for years, more than Islam,Christians have been pre wwarned by the prophets that this would befall them.The Anti Christs are back,

  5. Pingback: With a Friend Like Amanda (A Critique of the “Progressive” Left, e.g. Pandagon) « Escapist

  6. valerie lehmans says:

    I applaud you Mr Helmer for mentioning this issue. Though one may read on various blogs about the rise in the killing and persecution of Christians in Muslim countries worldwide, it is generally ignored by western MSM. Why might this be? Who has instructed the editors to adopt this policy? Is it a natural reaction to avoid showing concern for the plight of not just fellow believers but a defenceless minority?

    The only explanation that comes to mind is their abiding fear of being perceived as “racist” by drawing attention to the identity of the persecutors – much better to keep their readers in ignorance of such events, in case people start clamouring for action. And we all know THAT is not going to happen.

  7. Sadly, Valerie Lehman’s comments are also very true – and indicative of the harm which “political correctness” can ring to real-life situations. On a superficial level, it is easy and sometimes amusing to joke about politically correct words (for example). Clearly, liberals use this ideology in order to avoid even talking about some extremely important issues. They also have a tendency to use political correctness, in an attempt to distort perceptions and undermine the seriousness of various subjects.

  8. raymond jones says:

    taking this cause to Europe is like taking oil to water it wont mix.It will be quite soon I think when British Christians will be treated similar.As you know Christ has been knocked of his High and rightcheous seat in Britain and replaced by the Gays, and outher Anti Christs making that seat an un rightcheous seat.We cannot defend Christianity in our own land,Defending it in Egypt is at this time is considerably out of range.Christians are not hard enough,we spend much time trying to be kind and nice that our rightcheous anger seems to have disappeared.

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