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ICC Note: Egyptian President Sissi was elected with support from many Egyptians who believed he would move away from enforcing sectarian divisions, unfortunately the progress on this front has been limited. Coptic Christians still face numerous forms of discrimination from violent treatment at the hands of security forces to legal roadblocks to repairing churches. There are significant steps that need to be taken to curb the discrimination and persecution of the Christians minority in Egypt.

09/22/2014 Egypt (Coptic Solidarity) – President El-Sissi addresses the UN this week. We support the overall progress he has brought to Egypt and recognize the plethora of issues he has to address. Yet, Copts remain disappointed with the lack of attention given to the systematic discrimination under which they live.

Millions of Copts, along with Egyptians of all creeds, participated in the demonstrations of June 30, 2013 that toppled the Muslim Brotherhood totalitarian regime, and subsequently supported the El-Sissi presidency. We are pleased that El-Sissi has restored general stability in Egypt, despite the constant terrorist threats from Islamist Jihadists. He has dynamically engaged in various developmental efforts to improve the economy. It is also encouraging that he appointed five Copts out of a fifteen-member scientific/technical advisory board of Egyptians living abroad.

Yet, we are quite concerned by the ongoing, state-sponsored, imposition of an Islamist agenda on the public sphere, including in state institutions, education and cultural life. Furthermore, the “Coptic Issue” has still been treated as a “security” problem by El-Sissi, just like it was under prior regimes. Some specific areas that require El-Sissi’s immediate attention include:

Flagrant bias against Copts by the police and state security, whom often oppress victims, absolve aggressors, and force the innocent to drop their rights, thus helping perpetuate the impunity which Muslim radicals feel toward Copts. The recent barbaric aggression by police on Copts’ homes in the village of Gabal El-Tir is yet another of a long list of sad episodes of such violent aggressions.

The kidnapping of Copts for ransom and the disappearance of over 500 Coptic women and girls since the popular uprising in January 2011, with evidence that radical Muslim groups are targeting them for kidnapping, forced conversion, and marriage. Collusion by the police is often suspected.

In August 2013, 80 Coptic Churches and institutions were demolished or set ablaze by Muslim Brotherhood supporters. One year later, Phase -1 of the restoration, promised by the Army, has yet to be completed.

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