Religious freedom commission: Egypt's Christians need more protection

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18 2013 11:15 a.m. MDT

An Egyptian Coptic Christian woman holds a cross and chants angry slogans as she protests the recent attacks on Christians and churches, in front of the state television building in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, May 9, 2011.

Khalil Hamra, Associated Press

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday urging him to denounce the pattern of violent attacks Egypt’s Christian minority has endured since mid-August.

"I respectfully urge you to speak out clearly and forcefully about the unprecedented sectarian attacks committed against Christians in Egypt that proliferated at a frenetic pace on August 14 and the immediate days thereafter," wrote Robbie George, the commission’s chairman and a member of the Deseret News Editorial Advisory Board.

George continued, “It also is vitally important that the Egyptian interim government understands from you that it must promptly and thoroughly investigate violent incidents, prosecute perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law, and provide greater protections for Christians and their places of worship."

The Christian Science Monitor published a staff editorial Tuesday praising Egypt’s Christians for essentially living their faith amid severely trying circumstances.

“Among all the minorities in the Muslim Middle East, Christians have perhaps had the roughest decade,” the Monitor’s editorial board wrote. “… In Egypt, the Copts and other Christians, who number in the millions, have lately suffered particular violence at the hands of angry Muslim militants. …

“But in the midst of this violence and fear, Christians of different faiths have also responded in ways that give hope to all Egyptians that their country can form an inclusive and pluralistic democracy based on equality. Rather than meet violence with violence, Coptic Christians have found solace and hope in prayer, restraint, and in forgiving those who attacked them.”

Email: jaskar@desnews.com

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