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Second International Coptic Conference - Washington, DC

Coptsunited | 3 February 2012

Second International Coptic Conference - Washington, DC

November 16-19, 2005

Preamble

More than 220 thinkers, politicians, secularists and non-secularists, and Muslims from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iraq, Tunisia, Bahrain, Libya, Europe, the United States, and Australia, convened to study and discuss the status of the minorities in the Middle East and Islamic countries.
 
It became evident from the discussions, work papers, reports, witness statements, participating Egyptian and international fact finding missions, and the international human rights organizations, that the state of the Copts in Egypt continued to deteriorate after the first Coptic Conference held in Zurich in September 2004. This deterioration indicates that it is the intent and the will of the Egyptian government to persecute the Copts, the determination to strengthen the hold of the Wahabi Muslim religious hysteria and extremism, and their exportation to the rest of the world. This policy hurts the Muslims as well as the Copts of Egypt, drags the country back 1400 years in history, and makes Egypt a center for extremism in the Arab and Muslim worlds.
 
It is worth mentioning that grave incidents continued to take place after the Zurich Conference., Most salient among theses are the Marg church land usurpation by Muslim mobs, the Abou Zaabal cemetery destruction, the October 2005 Alexandria Moharram Bey riots against the Copts, and the inclusion of two Copts only out of 444 on the ruling National Democratic Party list of candidates for the national legislative elections.
 
The conferees ask for the prompt adoption, through the United Nations and its different organizations, of practical steps and legal actions to implement and realize both the previously adopted Zurich Conference resolutions, and the Washington conference resolutions listed below, this will secure and guarantee the legal protection of the Copts according to the provisions of the international laws and the international treaties of human rights of which Egypt is a signatory, before Egyptian faces another Darfour.
 
The conferees also repudiate the endless stream of falsities and lies emanating from the Arab and Egyptian government controlled media claiming that the Copts are calling for foreign military intervention on their behalf, and demand self-rule within Egypt. Such claims have no foundations in reality whatsoever. The Copts realize that such actions are not in the best interests of Egypt and the Egyptians. They envision a united democratic Egypt, where all the Egyptians, Muslims and Copts alike, are all treated as equals, without any compromise of this essential principle.
 
Signatures
 
Adly A. Youssef (Chairman), Saad Eddin Ibrahim (Co-Chairman)
 
The Second International Coptic Conference held in Washington therefore adopts the following resolutions:
 
1. The abrogation of all the laws and administrative regulations stifling freedom, and interfering with human rights. Foremost among these, the state of emergency laws that have been in effect and are ruling the country for close to a quarter of a century, and all the negative legal effects that follow these emergency laws.
 
2. The unrestricted freedom to establish non-religious political parties and civil associations, and the abrogation of all the laws restricting this freedom.
 
3. The freedom to issue newspapers and establish visual and audible public information media, and abolishing any restrictions imposed to stifle such freedom.
 
4. The prompt adoption of a unified law governing construction of the houses of worship and the support of these establishments, to emphasize the principle of the total equality of all the Egyptians. The conferees also demand that aggressions against houses of worship should be met with more intense retributions.
 
5. The criminalization of inciting hatred against, or insulting, religious beliefs, intensifying the punishment in cases of using official or government owned media to commit such crimes, and punishment of the officials responsible for these instruments, and other instruments of government oppression for such actions.
 
6. The establishment of departments for Coptic studies in the Egyptian universities since such studies are essential component of the national culture.
 
7. The adoption of corrective transitional policies to address the current marginalization of the women, the Copts, and the other minorities, through the application of the principle of positive discrimination. Appropriate percentage should be guided by a reasonable look at the ratios of minorities, populations. These policies should apply to the national legislative seats as well as the local city council representations, and the leading government positions.
 
Signatures

Adly A. Youssef (Chairman), Saad Eddin Ibrahim (Co-Chairman)
 
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