The Australian Coptic Movement, in
association with the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Sydney and its Affiliated
Regions, will be hosting a rally tomorrow, Jan. 19 in order to commemorate
those who died in the Alexandria bombing on New Year’s Day, and the victims of
the Queensland floods. The rally will commence at 11:45am at Martin Place
before proceeding to the Department of Foreign Affairs at 1:00pm. Confirmed
guests include respected members of the clergy from different denominations as
well as State and Federal MPs. Pitt Street will be closed from 1.00 to 1.30pm.
The Alexandrian massacre, which occurred on
Jan. 1, 2011, resulted in 23 dead and over 80 injured. This is the single worst
attack against Christians in Egypt within the past decade. It is also the third
such event in less than a year. This attack is one of a string of hundreds of
attacks against Christians, dating back 39 years.
The Egyptian government has failed to
prosecute the perpetrators behind these crimes and indeed, not one single
conviction has been recorded against a Copt. It is because of this lax
governing that criminals are given the green light to follow through with their
crimes without fear of reprimand. The only hope of a conviction was made on Jan.
16, 2011 against one of three shooters of the Naga Hamadi massacre on Jan. 6,
2010, however, this conviction rests in the hands of the Grand Mufti of Egypt,
who ultimately decides the perpetrator’s fate, which will be determined on Jan.
20 - more than a year after the attack.
This state of affairs has reached the
extent of criminals abroad plotting attacks against Christians outside Egypt.
As of last month, the AFP and the NSW State Police became aware of terrorist
threats made against four Coptic churches in Sydney. This represents a
transition from an isolated Egyptian problem to a threat to Australia’s
national security. It is now not a Copt’s life that is at risk, it is an
The Department of Foreign Affairs is well
aware of the Christian plight as well as the threats made against the churches
in Sydney. It was due to threats against Australian soil that prompted Minister
Ferguson to issue a statement. It is unfortunate that affairs had to reach such
a stage before any action was taken. Indeed, we are yet to hear a statement
from our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
Thankfully, leaders around the world from
the United States, Canada, the European Union and the United Nations, have
urged the Egyptian government to protect its indigenous Christians. We also
understand that the Hon. Tony Abbott MP and Mr. Barry O’Farrell condemned the
Despite the government’s refusal to stand
by its Coptic citizens, the Coptic community will endeavour to stand by its
Australian brothers and sisters in Queensland who are suffering from the
floods. We stand in solidarity with our brethren because we, as a community,
understand what it is like to endure adversity without a support base. We
understand the sorrow that accompanies loss of lives, destruction of homes,
businesses and livelihood. As such, we pledge to lend our assistance during
this time, commencing with a fundraising appeal at our rally. We believe that
an estimated 10, 000 people from all denominations and walks of life will be
present, and we will be requesting a donation from those in attendance. All
proceeds made will be donated to the Premier’s Flood Appeal, which has
supported our endeavour. A Coptic Charity Account has also been established by
His Grace, Bishop Suriel of Melbourne to support the Queensland flood victims,
with all proceeds going to those in need.
The rally on Jan. 19 is a sombre occasion
which will not only mourn the loss of lives in Egypt, but also the loss of
lives in Queensland, and we as Copts will pray for those here and abroad. We
hope the Australian government and community also stand with us in unity during
these telling times.
The Australian Coptic Movement.
If media is interested in further
discussing the issues, please contact the following people:
Christina Anthony: 0449 979 234
Peter Tadros: 0411 344 771
Monica Mikhail: 0402 161 260
Kamal Boutros: 0432 721 274