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ANS – At the request of the U.S. Copts Association, Helsinki Commission chairman Senator Sam Brownback will hold a joint press conference expressing the senator’s and other U.S. officials’ concern over the recent anti-Coptic violence in Alexandria, Egypt.

The press conference, to be held Wednesday, November 9, 2005 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM in Room 430 of the Dirksen Senate building at the U.S. Capitol, will include addresses by Senator Sam Brownback, (Judiciary-Constitution subcommittee chair, Appropriations Committee member), Congressman Frank Wolf (co-chair of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and chair of the Appropriations-Justice and Commerce Subcommittee) and U.S. Copts Association president Michael Meunier.

The U.S. Copts Association will also at the press conference release a comprehensive report detailing the recent escalations in anti-Coptic violence in Alexandria , Egypt .

The report, compiled from prominent international news sources, U.S. Copts correspondents in Egypt , and actual victims of the Alexandria attacks, will be the first comprehensive and authoritative account of recent anti-Coptic hate crimes including a 10,000 person siege against a Coptic church and the stabbing of a Coptic nun.

The press conference will express the Helsinki Commission’s and U.S. lawmakers’ concern over the recent escalations in anti-Coptic violence.

Although Copts — Egypt ‘s indigenous, pre-Arab Christians– have long been targeted by militant Islamists, several extremist newspapers have incited weeks of mob violence against Coptic houses of worship, businesses, and homes. News of the violent attacks has alarmed members of Congress, Senate, and other advocates of human rights and religious freedom in the Middle East .

“The violence to which Copts in Egypt have been subjected is nothing but state- sanctioned terrorism against the Coptic minority,” said Michael Meunier, president of the U.s. Copts Association.

“U.S. Copts is pleased to collaborate with Senator Brownback, Congressman Frank Wolf and other lawmakers to combat international terrorism wherever it may be,” Meunier said.

“The violence facing Egypt ’s Coptic community is no different from other terrorist acts,” Meunier added.

“The prevalence in the Middle East of extremist media and government officials indifferent to human rights is indeed a matter of utmost importance to U.S. lawmakers and international observers. We hope U.S. Copts’ and the Commission’s combined efforts will spur Egypt toward much-needed media and human rights reforms.”

The U.S. Copts Association, founded in 1996 and based in Washington D.C. , advocates for democracy, religious freedom, and human rights in Egypt . The Association represents over 700,000 Egyptian Christians in the United States and can be reached at www.copts.com and copts@copts.com…[Go To Full Story]