Testimony before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the House of Representatives

On December 7, 2011, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission heard testimony concerning the plight of Egypt’s Copts.  The witnesses included Kathy Fitzpatrick (Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State); Nina Shea (Director, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute); Dina Guirguis (Member, Egyptian American Rule of Law Association); Adel Guindy (President, Coptic Solidarity International); Cynthia Farahat (Co-Founder, Liberal Egyptian Party); and Raymond Ibrahim (Middle East specialist and Associate fellow, Middle East Forum).

Below is a partial transcript of Farahat’s moving, and disturbing testimony before Congress.  Check out the video that follows for the full testimony.

“… In 1971, President Sadat introduced shariah law to the constitution and now I think it’s, qualifies to say that Egypt is a constitutional theocracy and it’s not a modern state. The consequences were that Copts are no longer, according to shariah law, identified or defined as citizen. I have an Egyptian passport, but I’m not a citizen. The concept of citizenship is a Western concept that does not apply to us in Egypt. I‘m a woman and I’m a Copt. I’m a fourth-class citizen in Egypt. A first-class citizen in Egypt is the Sunni male, Muslim male. The second-class is the Sunni female. The third-class is the Coptic male. And fourth-class is the Coptic female.

And that’s why none of the people that committed crimes, none of the criminals that committed crimes against Copts were prosecuted in any way. Because it is against shariah law and that’s a fact. It’s not an opinion. To persecute someone for – a Muslim, for killing, raping, torturing, or vandalizing the property of a non-Muslim or a dhimmi. So this is our legal status. And this has been happening under the Mubarak’s so-called moderate regime, an ally of the West, and it’s now happening now. It was only inevitable that they take their radicalism a step further and start killing Copts in the street in front of TV cameras with live ammunition and running them over with armored military vehicles they probably got from the United States of America. …”

Warning, Farahat’s descriptions of the massacre are graphic:


  1. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/egyptian-coptic-christian-testifies-before-congress-i-am-a-woman-and-im-a-copt-im-a-fourth-class-citizen/
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHQbXPBEw-s
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC5MCamauos
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoQWeJusZRI
  5. http://www.securefreedom.org

Coptic Churches Celebrate Christmas Under Tight Security

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Coptic Churches all over the world celebrated Christmas under tight security.  In Egypt, 70,000 policemen, armored trucks, metal barricades, metal detectors were used to protect Coptic churches across the country.  In Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States law enforcement officials were on high alert and issued special security measures for Coptic churches.  In Jersey City, we had increased police patrols, police officers posted outside our church, no cars allowed to park in front of the church, bomb sniffing dogs, etc…

I thank God that no attacks were committed on Copts or Coptic Churches.  I thank, we must all thank, the honorable members of all our respective law enforcement branches.  They made us feel safe, and they kept us safe.  We owe them all a debt of gratitude.  The world was watching the Coptic situation over these last few days.  Many news articles have been posted and many interviews conducted, this has shown us, the Coptic people, that the world cares and is watching.  I also thank the news reporters, editors, journalists, etc… for taking an intrest in the plight of the Coptic people and continued coverage of the events.

Here are some of the news reports and video interviews that took place in our local churches:

NYTimes @ St. George Coptic Church in Brooklyn, NY – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/nyregion/08coptic.html?src=twrhp

NY1 @ Archangel Michael & St. Mina Coptic Church in Staten Island, NY – http://statenisland.ny1.com/content/top_stories/131857/coptic-observers-attend-guarded-service-on-staten-island

NorthJersey.com @ St. Mary & St. Mercurius Coptic Church in Belleville, New Jersey – http://www.northjersey.com/news/113089744_Extra_security_for_Orthodox_Christmas_celebrants.html

VOANews @ St. Mark Coptic Church in Fairfax, Virginia – http://www.voanews.com/english/news/religion/Virginia-Coptic-Church-Marks-Christmas-Eve-Amid-Tight-Security-113093789.html

VOANews @ St. George & St. Shenouda Coptic Church in Jersey City, NJ

Bombing, Denial, Threats

Current events in Egypt are being widely covered in international news.  Egypt’s government is a government in denial!  Their denial has been their active plan to “deter” extremism and secure peace and safety.  I am not surprised at the current claims that are emerging from Egyptian government officials, news agencies, etc…  most of these are utter lies and fabrications, creating scapegoats and further denying  the sectarian strife in Egypt.  Their claims include:

  • Claim: Perpetrator(s) of the bombing was not Egyptian but a foreign element. My Opinion: It is HIGHLY UNLIKELY due to the fact that nothing thus far has suggested that it was foreign rather than internal.
  • Claim: The terrorist attack was against the whole of Egypt and not only the Copts.  My Opinion: While I am touched that some of our Muslim brothers empathize and feel that this was an attack against Egypt, the intention is clear from the location, timing, and date of the attack. The target was Coptic Christians as they were exiting a prayer service to ring in the new year.
  • Claim: It was an isolated terrorist attack and not sectarian violence.  My Opinion: This claim is DISGUSTING. What about the “… documented 52 anti-Christian incidents between 2008 and 2010 and in none of them were the perpetrators punished. Instead security forces arbitrarily arrested a few people.” (Source 1 – MSNBC) The Government does very little to achieve justice for perpetrators. They are given slaps on the wrist and released from custody.  Murderers are released back into the general population with relatively no punishment and so they encourage others and continue themselves.

This is one of many incidents which have been escalating in recent years.  Yet, everyone is just now finding out about the Coptic plight.

Copts in Egypt, and all over the world, are ANGRY.  They are angry at a Government whose internal security policy is: point the finger elsewhere, sweep situations under the rug, force reconciliations between heinous murders and victims, allow hate to flourish against Copts and the Pope, etc…  They have always been angry about these things but have restrained themselves.  They are no longer doing so,  with the mindset that if they will die anyway, they will do so innocently but not quietly or silently.  Many have taken their anger to the streets, thousands of Copts have been protesting in the streets of Shoubra and Alexandria.  They have also been joined by some of their Muslim brothers.

H.H. Pope Shenouda is quoted in Al Ahram Newspaper saying,

“The slogans used by some [Coptic protesters] have transgressed all values and modes of behavior… and some have tried to resort to violence, but violence is absolutely not a method of ours…”

He added that, “We can not prevent people from expressing their sorrow, yet I ask them to express their feelings without violence. I am glad that many Muslims joined [in the protests] which shows that all are against terrorism and sectarian violence. The attack brought us together and we have to unite against the enemy that aims to weaken our bonds.”

Radical Islam is very real.  While some Muslims consider directing verses in the Quran as remnants of the time of Mohammed, other consider them current and applicable today.  Any doubter of such should do some research for themselves. Do not remain in ignorance and denial.  These are SHOCKING and EYE-OPENING videos about how some interpret Islam:

Copts will celebrate Christmas Eve on January 6, and there has been internet chatter asking jihadists to detonate bombs in Coptic Churches around the world that night when the churches are full.  Lists of Coptic Churches and Activists have been supplied on a jihadist website for immediate bombing and execution.  National and local authorities in Egypt, Europe, Canada, Australia, US, etc… are on high alert. (Source 4 – CNN) We, the Copts, are not afraid of terrorists, jihadists, or death.

Sources and More Reading:

  1. Bombing opens vein of Christian anger in Egypt – http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/40887817/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/
  2. Clashes Grow as Egyptians Remain Angry After an Attack – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/04/world/middleeast/04egypt.html?ref=middleeast
  3. After Bombing, Egypt’s Christians Worship and Worry – http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2040491,00.html
  4. European Coptic Churches on Alert After Attack – http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/01/04/europe.coptic.threat/index.html?section=cnn_latest
  5. Youtube: Muslim Leader Admits Islam Not a Religion of Peace –
  6. Youtube: Palestinian Propaganda – Child’s Martyrdom Song, Islam: DLee – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHNeJURwIpk
  7. Youtube: Mother of a Martyr – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsZtBu5yiHY