On January 21, 2010 on a winter afternoon, over 2000 Coptic Christians rallied, chanted, sang, prayed, and marched outside the White House to get the attention of U.S. President Barack Obama and the American public on the continuing human rights violations of the Copts in Egypt. They came from Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and other parts of America to protest the recent terrorist attack on Copts in Egypt on January 6 (Coptic Christmas Eve), with terrorists killing Copts as they left their religious services in Nag Hammadi (near Luxor). The latest attacks were part of a continuing history of oppression, rape, murder, and forced conversion from Christianity to Islam of the Coptic people and women in Egypt.
The crowd arrived in different locations from buses, some of which were organized at St. Mark Coptic Church (11911 Braddock RD Fairfax, VA 22030) and St. Mary Coptic Church (8340 Woodward St. Savage, MD 20763). Coptic organizers included Halim Meawad and Magdi Khalil. The rally was supported by the Coalition of American Coptic organizations and activists, the National American Coptic Assembly, Free Copts organization, and was promoted on the Free Copts organization website.
With the recent attacks on Copts in November 2009 (in Farshoot and Abou Shousha) and the January 2010 terrorist attack on Copts outside their Mar Yohana church in Nag Hammadi, the Coptic people continue to face deadly persecution in Egypt. Morris Sadek’s group, the National American Coptic Assembly, passed out fliers at the White House rally defying President Mubarak’s claims that “there is no persecution for Copts in Egypt;” the fliers addressed the oppression of Coptic Christians, attacks on churches, the forced “Islamization” and abduction of Coptic girls, and official restrictions on creation of new Christian churches. According to Morris Sadek, “enough is enough,” calling for Mubarak and the American government to “do something now.”
One attendee stated that the crowd of Copt supporters was estimated at 2500 people. It was a large enough crowd that it filled the Pennsylvania Avenue area in front of the White House. We attempted to estimate the moving crowd (which frequently was marching around the area) and concluded it was clearly over 2000 people. New members to protest continue to join the rally as it was in progress. Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) was represented among the supporters at the Copts’ White House rally.
Protesters held signs, crosses, and American flags. Entire families with their children came to spend the day.
Signs included messages such as “Stop the Killing of Innocent Christians Now,” “Save Christians in Egypt,” signs imploring President Obama to recognize their plight, and some signs merely asked the painful question “Why?” regarding the hate-based attacks and oppression on the Copts’ human rights and lives.
In reference to the January 6 (Coptic Christmas Eve) terrorist attack, one protester’s sign read “Bloodshed is not what I wanted for Christmas.”
Others held large banners describing the scope of the ongoing human rights violations against the Copts: 161 attacks on Christians and churches, 4500 stores, houses, and churches burned, and 1500 tortured.
The protesters called for U.S. President Barack Obama to take action, and chanted “Obama, Obama, We Need Action!”
They also chanted to stop the killing of Christians in Egypt, that “Christian Blood is Not Cheap,” and implored the “U.S. [to] Wake Up!”
Protesters lined up and down the Pennsylvania Avenue area in front of the White House marched back and forth.
During the protest at the White House, Coptic supporters sang “Lord Have Mercy,” and prayed. They protested for freedom of worship for the Coptic Christians in Egypt.
As the Copts braved the winter day to show their support for their fellow Copts in Egypt, they showed that they would defy the forces of oppression, and that they will not allow the suffering of the Copts to be forgotten by the U.S. government or by the American people. Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) stands by the Copts’ struggle for their universal human rights.
Note as additional updates, videos, etc. become available on the White House protest, we will try to update this posting with such additional information
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