Op-Ed: The Heinous Crime Against Egyptian Coptic Christians
Elias BejjaniElias Bejjani, human rights activist, journalist and political commentator, is spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF) and Media Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC).
The Military Egyptian authorities with no mercy and in cold blood committed a heinous and barbaric massacre against unarmed Coptic Christian civilians who were just protesting in a peaceful and civilized manner the shameful atrocity of burning one of their churches by fundamentalists in the village of Elmarinab in Edfu, Aswan.
This is a shame and disgrace for the civilized world.
On Sunday, Egyptian military forces attacked the Coptic demonstrators savagely using all kinds of weapons including armored vehicles, tanks and tear gas.
Initial reports indicated that at least 35 Copts were killed and more than 300 injured. The number of the victims could rise dramatically as many bodies are still unidentified and disfigured beyond recognition
We strongly condemn this savage crime of hatred and barbarism and call upon the Egyptian authorities to assume their full responsibilities and once and forever stop justifying their anti-Copt crimes with false fabrications and empty accusations of foreign conspiracies.
An immediate and thorough judicial investigation must be carried out without any delay under international supervision.
All officials and military personnel who instigated and executed the criminal attack must be held responsible and put on trial.
Apparently, the ruling Egyptian Military Council has completely abandoned its governing responsibilities, negated its security obligations and together with the Salafist fundementalists, is openly persecuting and murdering the Copts.
The last crime is a huge insult to the military Egyptian rulers and to all the Arab countries .
It has become a must that the persecuted, threatened, scared and abandoned Copts call on the UN and Free World countries to step in and protect them from their own rulers, army and people.
The Free World countries and UN have a moral obligation to intervene by all available means and on all levels in a bid to protect the Egyptian Copts and to condemn the escalating anti-Copt stances that the military rulers of Egypt are taking, while the fanatical Muslim Salafists are attacking the Copts, invading their homes, killing them, burning their churches and threatening to kill their clergy.
We offer our heartily felt condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in Egypt and wish a quick recovery to those who were injured. Our thoughts are with all those were affected by the savage crime.
In conclusion, it’s the national duty of the Egyptian state and people to produce an effective legal, social and security apparatus through which the safety, freedom, faith, churches and property of the Copts are safeguarded from the savagery of the Salafists and other fanatics.
Meanwhile, all Copt rights as equal Egyptian citizens should be fully honored without racism, discrimination or injustice.
And most importantly, both Article Two of the Egyptian constitution and the "Hamayoni Decree" (a clause in the Egyptian law, dating back from Ottoman rule, February 1856) that regulate Church construction and maintenance, MUST be abolished.