New York, NY, April 8, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned the latest round of violence against Egypt's Coptic Christians and urged the country's civilian and military leadership to take immediate meaningful steps to protect the Coptic community and its institutions.
In the latest act of violence against the Middle East's vulnerable Christian communities, four Coptic Christians were killed and at least 17 were wounded in sectarian clashes over the weekend. On April 7, a mob threw rocks and fired birdshot at several hundred Christians marching in Cairo who were protesting against Egypt's Islamist government. The marchers were forced to take refuge in a Coptic Orthodox cathedral, which also came under assault.
"The ongoing violence against the Egyptian Coptic Christian community demands concrete and sustained steps to ensure their safety,” said Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “For the last two years, Egyptian government officials have promised greater security but have failed to deliver. We call on the Egyptian government and Egyptian religious leaders to send a clear message that they will fully protect freedom of religion and religious minorities."
The incident marks the latest in a series of attacks on Coptic Christians, an ancient minority religion in Egypt making up about 10 percent of Egypt's population. Attacks on Coptic Christians have been increasing in recent years. Four Coptic Churches were attacked in 2011, including a devastating terrorist car bombing on New Year's Day in Alexandria which killed 21 people and injured 79 as worshippers were leaving religious services. In 2010, a Coptic man was accused of kidnapping and raping a 12-year-old Muslim girl, and the allegation led to widespread protests by the Muslim community, culminating in the murder of six Copts and one Muslim security guard at a church.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.