WASHINGTON, DC – In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East, calls on President Sisi to improve the treatment of Coptic Christians in Minya Province.
Minya, in upper Egypt, is home to the largest concentration of Coptic Christians outside of Cairo. According to the Eshhad database of human rights violations in Egypt, more than 160 incidents of harassment, violence, and terrorism have taken place against Christians in Minya between 2013 and 2018.
While President Sisi has taken strong steps to punish perpetrators of terrorism and support Coptic Christians in large cosmopolitan areas, many regional governors, such as Qasim Hussein of Minya, do not enforce basic constitutional provisions guaranteed to all Egyptians. The local governorate in Minya regularly placates to the demands of fanatical mobs by closing churches and refusing to prosecute perpetrators of hate crimes against Copts such as Suad Thabet.
IDC has been advocating for H. Res. 49, “Supporting Coptic Christians in Egypt,” which is a bipartisan bill that was introduced by Rep. French Hill.
“IDC appreciates the gestures of solidarity that President Sisi has extended to Egypt’s Copts, but encourages him to apply pressure on his bureaucracy and local officials to create an atmosphere of inclusion for all Egyptians. The situation in Minya is unacceptable and we call on him to make changes at the governorate level,” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini.