Washington, DC, January 19– Today, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to the Middle East for a weeklong trip where he will stop in Egypt, Israel and Jordan. It has been reported that on his trip, the Vice President will highlight the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and U.S. efforts to aid persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in the region.
IDC applauds the Vice President’s efforts to advocate for religious freedom for Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, particularly during his trip to Egypt. This year alone, Coptic Christians have suffered through 3 large scale attacks which left dozens dead, seen mob attacks on their communities and have had several churches forcefully closed down or attacked.
During his trip to the Middle East, the Vice President should:
- Leverage the hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance that the U.S. gives Egypt annually by pressuring Egyptian President Abdelfattah al-Sisi to scale-up security for churches and monasteries in light of recent attacks.
- Ensure that Israel protects the religious freedom of all peoples and faith and, in addition, respects the freedom to access all religious sites in the holy city of Jerusalem.
IDC is currently supporting Resolution 673 which reaffirms the importance of the U.S.-Egypt partnership in the region and the fight against terrorism, and encourages the Egyptian government to bring terrorist who have targeted Coptic Christians to justice. It also pushes for Coptic Christians to be given the same rights as other Egyptian citizens.