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Press Release of California Copts Association on the October 9, 2011 Massacre of Copts

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Over 100,000 Coptic Egyptian Christians gathered in peaceful protest and to stage a sit-in outside the Egyptian state television building along the Nile, on Sunday, October 9, 2011.

The sit-in was a culmination of protests that took place over the last week in Cairo and other cities across Egypt. The Copts, a large Christian minority of about 15 million, were angered over numerous increasing attacks that have resulted in the destruction of many churches. The latest of these attacks targeted a newly built church in Almiranab, Aswan, south of Egypt. The church obtained all required building permits, including the governor’s approval, yet the Muslim neighbors objected to having a church constructed in their neighborhood. A compromise was reached where the Christians agreed to remove the bells and the cross from the top of the church. However, a few days later, after being incited by the Friday Muslim sermon, a large Muslim mob came in and destroyed, then burned the church to the ground.  The attack lasted several hours yet met no intervention from state officials – no police forces or fire fighters were dispatched to save the church.

As soon as the Sunday protest reached its meeting place in front of the TV building, the protesters came under attack by hundreds of thugs, in plain clothes, as well as large forces of police and military using live ammunition. Police vehicles and military tanks scaled sidewalks and ran over peaceful protesters, crushing their bodies and instantly killing them. This massacre by the Egyptian police and military is a stark contrast to the countless protests conducted by Islamists in which the government took no action against protesters.

This is just one criminal act out of a series of hundreds of terrorist attacks against Christians that have been escalating all over Egypt in recent months. The State authorities shared the responsibility for the previous attacks due to their lack of intervention, investigation, or prosecution of the attackers and today the blood of the Christians massacred falls squarely on the hands of Egyptian State Officials. 

Recent fatwas (religious Islamic sanctions) issued by top Muslim religious leaders such as the Sheikh of Al Azhar and the Grand Mufti, maintained that Christians are infidels, thus putting Christians and their churches subject to religious cleansing by Muslims.    

We call upon the United Nations to conduct an international inquiry in the matter as any investigation conducted by Egyptian authorities will likely be corrupted and biased.  We ask the International community to intervene to stop the persecution of the Coptic Christians of Egypt.

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