Egypt is a key ally for the U.S. in the Middle East. Yet Christians in Egypt face unrelenting discrimination and violence.
Now Congress has an opportunity to urge Egypt to right this wrong.
Rep. French Hill has introduced “Supporting Coptic Christians in Egypt,” House Resolution 117.
It clearly describes what Christians endure in Egypt and how the Egyptian government can address the problems. (See the text below.)
You can learn about Christians in Egypt: “Why Do These Children Have a Cross Tattoo?”
Rep. Hill tells more in “Protect Those of Faith In Egypt” and highlights Abdo Adel.
Abdo Adel, a Christian, posted a vague comparison of Jesus and Muhammad on Facebook in July 2018. A complaint was filed with the police accusing him of insulting Islam, and a mob attacked Christians’ property.
A local priest posted a desperate apology on social media, and Abdo and his family fled. Abdo was arrested and convicted for “contempt of religion,” or blasphemy, in December 2018.
He remains in jail past his release date because security forces say his return home would incite violence.
A “reconciliation council” absolved the mob for its violent rampage against Christians.
These injustices occur regularly in Egypt.
The “Supporting Coptic Christians in Egypt” resolution explains this extremely well – and how Egypt can reform:
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 11, 2021
Supporting Coptic Christians in Egypt.
Whereas St. Mark brought Christianity to Egypt, where Coptic Christians have been one of the indigenous people of Egypt for over 2,000 years;
Whereas there are over 10,000,000 Copts in Egypt, making the Copts the largest Christian and the largest non-Muslim community in the Middle East;
Whereas Copts and other Christians have been targets of societal aggression resulting in the loss of life, property, and the destruction of churches;
Whereas, in January 2015, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was the first Egyptian President in more than 50 years to make an appearance at a Coptic Christian Christmas liturgy;
Whereas, in August 2016, Egypt passed Law 80 to streamline the church construction process;
Whereas, as of January 2021, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, of the approximately 5,500 unlicensed churches and religious buildings awaiting legalization, authorities have conditionally recognized approximately 1,800;
Whereas Coptic Christians face discrimination in Egypt’s public-sector employment, including the police force, armed services, education, the judiciary, and the foreign service;
Whereas Coptic Christians face discrimination in Egypt’s athletics, including the Egyptian Olympic team, on the national, reserve, and youth football teams, and in the Egyptian premier soccer league;
Whereas violence against Coptic Christians, particularly in local villages, is rarely punished, making Copts more susceptible to attacks;
Whereas Egyptian Government officials frequently participate in informal reconciliation sessions to address incidents of sectarian violence or tension, saying that such sessions prevented further violence;
Whereas according to human rights groups, the reconciliation sessions have regularly led to outcomes unfavorable to religious minorities and precluded recourse to the judicial system by such minorities;
Whereas civil society institutions, women’s rights organizations, nongovernmental organizations (both national and foreign) have been shut down or their activities severely curtailed;
Whereas journalists, thinkers, and dissenters, such as Ramy Kamel and Patrick Zaki, have been imprisoned indefinitely, detained without trial, or are subject to a revolving door of arrest, interrogation, pretrial detention and renewal hearings at which many prisoners have their detentions automatically renewed (for months or even years) without evidence, and re-arrest after release orders have been given;
Whereas United States diplomatic leadership contributes meaningfully and materially to the international protection of religious minorities and their faith-based practices and places of worship;
Whereas the United States has a strong interest in combatting the threat of Islamic terrorism and ensuring the stability of the region; and
Whereas religious freedom and human rights are essential cornerstones of democracy that promote respect for individual liberty and contribute to greater stability and are priority values for the United States in promoting its engagement with other countries: Now, therefore, be it
That the House of Representatives—
(1) acknowledges the central and historic importance of the United States-Egypt partnership in advancing the common interests of both countries;
(2) appreciates Egypt’s regional role as a partner in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism;
(3) recognizes the necessity for Egypt’s leaders to take steps toward education reform that prioritize impartial instruction of all religions and political reform that prioritizes human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law;
(4) urges the Government of Egypt to complete the process of church certification as initiated by the 2016 law;
(5) urges the Government of Egypt to end the mistreatment of prisoners of conscience and to release all prisoners of conscience;
(6) urges the Government of Egypt to remove religious affiliation from national identification cards;
(7) urges the Government of Egypt to enact serious and legitimate reforms in the public sector, athletics, and society to ensure Coptic Christians are given the same rights and opportunities as all other Egyptian citizens; and
(8) urges the Government of Egypt to take additional steps to end the culture of impunity for attacks on Christians, to continue to undertake the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of individuals who carry out attacks on Copts and other Christians in Egypt, and to hold accountable Government officials who fail to enforce the law.
You can track H.Res. 117 at this link: “Supporting Coptic Christians in Egypt”.