US Copts rally for release of Giza church clash detainees

Hundreds of Egyptian Christians on Tuesday organized a peaceful march in front of the UN headquarters in New York City, calling for the release of fellow Christians who were detained by Egyptian police following 24 November clashes with security over halted construction at an Omraneya, Giza church.

Local officials said the church lacked necessary permits.

The New York march was joined by priests from the US and Canada. Demonstrators hoisted posters of Pope Shenouda III, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church. The march was preceded by a prayer during which priests voiced their rejection of “unacceptable” insults made against the pope.

Several priests criticized security for firing at “innocent” people, saying the clashes are one instance in a long offensive against Copts due to their religious affiliation. Justice had not been achieved in most cases, they added.

Bishop Sorial of Melbourne, Australia condemned the “suffering recently [of Copts], especially during the Omraneya dispute.”

Sorial questioned the point behind appointing Gamal Asaad, a Coptic author and a former MP, to the People’s Assembly. Most of Asaad's writings criticize Shenouda and the Coptic community.

Canadian Copts, on the other hand, organized a conference to discuss the Omraneya incidents. Head of the Canadian-Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Nabel Abdel Malik, urged a unified national action to merge all sectors of Egyptian society.

Abdel Malek attacked the Egyptian government's stance on incidents of violence and systematic discrimination against Copts over the past three decades.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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