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Coptic Solidarity Initiates Modern Coptic Martyrs Remembrance Day on 5th Anniversary of Maspero Massacre

Contact: Lindsay Vessey, Coptic Solidarity, 801-512-1713, coptadvocacy@copticsolidarity.org 
 
WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- Coptic Solidarity is launching the first annual Modern Coptic Martyrs Remembrance Day to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the brutal murder of Christian Egyptian citizens during a peaceful protest, and the many other Coptic Christians martyrs in Egypt in modern times who have died for their faith in the increasingly hostile environment towards religious minorities.

Coptic Solidarity urges concerned individuals of all faiths and denominations to join with us on the fifth anniversary of the Maspero Massacre to host prayer vigils and other remembrance events. Coptic Solidarity has created an online resource center where churches and individuals can find all the necessary tools to host a prayer event or any other commemorative activity. The resource center includes a church bulletin insert, fact sheet, an educational presentation, an advocacy campaign, and photos and videos.

Local Islamists demolished a Coptic Orthodox church near the city of Aswan. In protest, on October 9, 2011 Coptic Christians and fellow Egyptian citizens decided to peacefully march to the Maspero building in Cairo, which houses the state-owned television and radio center. This peaceful march included men and women, young and old.

As the demonstrators neared the Maspero building, the Egyptian Army began firing live ammunition at the peaceful crowd without any warning. Four armored personnel carriers (APCs) proceeded to drive in zigzag patterns through the crowds in an effort to run over as many demonstrators as possible. Adding to this egregious assault, the State-run television simultaneously aired an urgent message claiming that Christians were attacking Egyptian Army soldiers and urging "good Egyptian citizens" to defend the military.

The brutal confrontation left 28 demonstrators dead and 327 injured. Twenty-seven of those killed were Copts; 14 of them were crushed to death under the armored vehicles.

Despite widespread evidence and autopsy reports performed at the Church's request and with the agreement of the victims' families confirming the causes of death, the massacre is still not officially recognized as such by Egyptian authorities. Official investigations have been unfruitful, with only two low-ranking soldiers - who remain free and continue to serve in their army units - found guilty of a misdemeanor of "involuntary killing". In addition, a Coptic protestor was convicted for "aggression against army personnel."

Coptic Solidarity will host the commemoration event at the National Press Club in Washington DC on October 5, 2016 at Noon Eastern Time in the Zenger Room. This Modern Coptic Martyrs Remembrance Day is an opportunity to commemorate the martyrdom not only of the Maspero Massacre victims, but the many others who have been martyred in our modern times for their faith.

Coptic Solidarity urges all concerned to stand together in unity demanding from the Egyptian government acknowledgement and justice for the victims of Maspero, protection of Copts against the rash of violent attacks they are currently enduring, an end to the systematic discrimination against them, and the institution of full and equal rights to Copts as citizens in their homeland.

Concerned individuals can advocate via Coptic Solidarity's online advocacy campaign. This campaign provides a sample "Letter to the Editor" and pre-set targets for U.S. and international media. The purpose of this campaign is to urge more media outlets to publish articles regarding the event in order to assist with creating awareness and achieving justice.

Coptic Solidarity is an organization seeking to help minorities, particularly the Copts, of Egypt and we support those in Egypt working for upholding values of freedom, equality, and the protection of the fundamental rights of all Egyptian citizens. It advocates in cooperation with the affiliated organizations in Canada and in Europe (Solidarité Copte). For more information, contact Lindsay Vessey at 801-512-1713 or coptadvocacy@copticsolidarity.org