Ladies and Gentlemen:
Good afternoon and thank you for coming here to be a part of this press conference. Special thanks go to the members of the panel, leaders who believe in freedom and human rights. Each one of us is here today to achieve the same goal, to defend the rights of the persecuted and oppressed who cannot speak for themselves.
The purpose of this press conference is to detail two important events which have occurred recently in Egypt. One is the massacre of eight Copts leaving their church on the Coptic Christmas Eve. The second is our application submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief on behalf of a Muslim Egyptian who converted to Christianity a few years ago and who, until this moment, will not be recognized by the Egyptian regime for his new faith on his official documents.
Both occurrences show the true character of the Egyptian regime. However the West still believes the propaganda put out by leaders of the regime who demonstrate a high regard for democratic ideals and respect for human rights. Western governments see the regime as a friend and an important function in the Middle East peace process.
Nag Hammadi Massacre:
On January 7th, sometime after midnight, people were leaving a church in a town known as Nag Hammadi located in Upper Egypt. Outside of that church various Muslims were waiting to congratulate them in an Islamic way, using machine guns. Eight young men lost their lives in a horrible act of terrorism.
The regime, including its appointed perpetrator, the Coptic governor of that county, tried to paint that act as a vendetta between individuals, ignoring that the principal goal of that massacre was to kill the Bishop of that county, Bishop Kirllos.
The regime uses criminals to eliminate those who oppose its ideology. Information indicates that at least nine persons were involved in the shootout, but only three are in custody. My question is who is the real planner of that massacre?
On behalf of the Nag Hammadi victims, the 21Copts killed in 2000 in El
Koshes, the 83 Copts in El Zawia El Hmara in 1981 and all others Copts massacred under that military regime, I am demanding the international community to do the following:
• Begin an international investigation and bring to justice all responsible for massacred Copts and others of Egypt.
• Investigate the possibility of illegal organ transport from the bodies of the victims of the Nag Hammadi massacre.
Application Submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief:
Mr. Mohammed Hegazy, a Muslim and native of Egypt was the first Muslim converted to Christianity who demanded of the government that his information be updated to meet his new status. The Egyptian regime is refusing to satisfy his request. Hegazy’s case can be summarized in the following way:
– A Muslim man and a Muslim woman decided to change their native religion.
– They both live in a country which since 1981 has been enforcing an illegitimate article in its constitution called Shariah!
– The same country is a part of various international treaties that respect basic human rights and freedom of religion.
– The married couple now has two children who are also Christian and must also remain officially Muslim.
Voice of the Copts coordinated with Hegazy’s attorney in Egypt, Mr. Ashraf Edward, and the director of the European Center for Law and Justice, Dr. Gregory Puppinck, to bring this case to an international level by submitting an application to the United Nations Special Rapporteur seeking justice.
We cannot be certain if the United Nations will succeed in enabling Mr. Hegazy and his family to live and practice their faith freely in Egypt.
We at Voice of the Copts realize that in today’s environment of political correctness the most serious issues cannot be resolved with honesty.