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Sires and Ros-Lehtinen Lead Letter to Secretary Kerry Urging Condemnation of Coptic Christian Persecution in Egypt

Dec 14, 2016
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) sent a letter to Secretary Kerry, along with several other Members, urging the Administration to condemn the continued persecution of Coptic Christians and work with the Egyptian government to protect religious minorities in Egypt.

“The Coptic Christian community in Egypt has faced continuous and targeted persecution despite its entrenched roots in Egyptian history and society. The bombing of St. Peter’s Church in Cairo on December 11 is a stark reminder of the ongoing discrimination and intolerance confronting nearly ten percent of Egypt’s population. The Egyptian government and President el-Sisi must do more to ensure that the rights of all Egypt’s citizens are protected, and that all Egypt’s communities can live free from fear of violence,” stated Congressman Sires.

Coptic Christians in Egypt comprise as much as forty percent of the population in some areas, and can trace their roots back to Egypt for over two thousand years. However, the Christian community in Egypt has suffered from escalated rates of vigilante violence targeting their community. The recent bombing of St. Peter’s Church that killed dozens and injured hundreds is a poignant reminder of the dangers facing Coptic Christians on a daily basis.

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen stated, “I strongly condemn the vicious terrorist attack at Cairo’s St. Mark’s Cathedral targeting Coptic Christians. The increasing frequency of persecution against Egypt’s Christians is deeply alarming and I urge our administration to work with the Egyptian government to help protect vulnerable religious minorities and ensure that the perpetrators of all attacks against Copts are brought to justice as soon as possible. The safety and human rights of Copts, other religious minorities, and indeed, all Egyptian citizens, must be protected.”

Full text of the letter to Secretary Kerry can be found here. Members of Congress joining Sires and Ros-Lehtinen on the letter were: Rep. Theodore Deutch (D-FL), Rep. David Trott (R-MI), Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY).