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Statement by the Melli Council

Mariam Rifaat

10 Apr 2013 1:30 am

The Melli (Community Laity) Council of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt this evening issued the following statement:

The Melli (Community Laity) Council of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt this evening issued the following statement:
“The Melli Council of the Coptic Orthodox Church offers its deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the assaults that took place in Khusous and at the St Mark’s Cathedral grounds in Cairo, and to every Egyptian family who suffered casualties during the last week. 
“The Melli council expresses its deep concern regarding the persistence of the systematic charging of public sentiment against Egypt’s Christians, which has escalated in volume and severity throughout the last few months. This charging of sentiment has been facilitated by the laxity of the State and its institutions in indiscriminately enforcing the law, and the failure of the political leadership to bring to justice the already-known culprits in earlier attacks against Copts. The State also failed to take any serious measure to put an end to the sectarian charging and consequent violence which have been steadily on the rise. This has jeopardised the State’s prestige and its respect of the law and its citizens, their freedoms and their religious institutions.
“The unprecedented absence of any role by the political leadership to unite the ranks of the children of the nation and defuse sectarian strife has led to the point where individuals were driven to attack the mourners of the victims of sectarian violence, the St Mark’s cathedral and the papal headquarters, under the eyes and nose of the police, for long hours without anything to stop them.
“Egyptians have been horrified at the sight of the police forces intensively throwing tear gas canisters inside the cathedral grounds which were already under assault, and at the sight of masked men inside the police armoured trucks at the time of the attack. This in itself raised suspicions, and indicated a serious, unprecedented regression in the responsibility of the State towards Egypt’s people and her Churches, which had never so declined even under the worst times of curtailed religious freedoms in Egypt. 
“The Melli council holds the President and the government fully responsible for the absence of justice and security, and for keeping silent before the dubious complicity of some State executives against the protection of the children of the nation and their property; and taking to account the culprits, the perpetrators, and those who failed to stop them or covered up what they did.
“We remind everyone that the rights and freedoms of the children of Egypt—their freedom of belief, security, the protection of their property and places of worship, and their personal freedoms—are authentic rights granted by all religions, constitutions and international treaties. They are not bestowed by one faction upon another, nor are they subject to discussion, negotiation, or revision. They are not partitioned, postponed or applied unequally. The State’s political leadership is responsible to maintain these rights and defend them with all its might, through the executive authorities whose main role is to serve the people, preserve their rights and protect them.
“We promise the Egyptian people that we will not stand helpless before the persistent sectarian violence and its perpetration, or the discrimination in applying the law to the children of the homeland. We will not forget those who lost their lives in incidents of all sectarian violence in the wake of which no culprit was ever brought to justice. The long list includes the notorious crimes of the two last years: in Alexandria, Etfeeh, Maspero, Imbaba, Dahshur and the many others until, recently, in Khusous and at the Cathedral.
“We will resort to all legitimate and legal means to protect our full rights as Egyptian citizens, and we will not give up our rights under any circumstances.
We have confidence and faith that all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, will not accept the injustice inflicted upon the Christians in Egypt, the systematic violence against them, as well as the disgraceful disregard by the authorities and the political leadership, and their failure to deter assailants and achieve justice and respect of the law, international treaties and the International Declaration of Human Rights. 
“The Melli Council shall remain in constant session to follow on the recent situation and investigations.
“The Melli Council stresses its full support of the stances taken by Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark.
“May God protect Egypt and her people.”
 
Signed:
Mr Fathy Lutfallah (Chemist)
Fr Saleeb Matta Sawiris
Fr Boutros Boutros Gayed
Judge Edward Ghaleb
Judge Nabil Mirhom
Dr Tharwat Bassily
Judge Munsif Soliman
Dr Hany Kameel
Major General Samir Azer
Judge Bushra Mattar
Dr Rasmy abdel-Malak
Dr Wagdy Louis
Judge Manassa Thabet
Dr Mounir Azmy
Judge Kamal Shawqy
Dr Mamdouh Fakhry
Judge Malak Mina
Mr Youssef Sidhom
Dr Georgette Qellini
Mr Kamel Saleh
Watani International
9 April 2013


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