The First International Coptic Symposium
Zurich - 09/25/2004
In order to end the long and enduring persecution of the Copts in Egypt , we call on the Egyptian government to enact ‘Special Legislation’ through the Egyptian legislature to correct all inequities resulting from historical neglect and discrimination.
We sincerely solicit the help of all Muslims to stand side by side with the Copts in their quest for freedom and equality.
The new legislation establishing equality for the Copts should establish and implement the following principles:
1- Instituting a total separation of religion and state through constitutional reforms, and the removal of emphasis on religion and its role in government institutions, emphasizing the secular nature of the State.
2- Denouncing the Hamayoni Decree as unconstitutional in order to establish the equal rights of all Egyptians to build and maintain places of worship.
3-Allocating a proportionate and just percentage (estimated between 10-15%) of government appointed positions to Copts, to guarantee appropriate participation.
4-Allocating a proportionate and just percentage (estimated between 10-15%) of parliamentary seats for Copts, thereby, encouraging political participation and guaranteeing adequate representation in the Electoral Bodies.
5-Removing religious identification from every government issued document, form, or application.
6-Enforcing the constitution in order to guarantee the freedom and protection of religious beliefs of all Egyptians, free from all coercion.
7-Ending the practice of treating all Coptic issues, including their struggle to attain equal rights, as ‘State Security Matters’ and removing what is known as the “Coptic File” from the grip of the State Security Intelligence Apparatus, with the aim of restoring equality between all Egyptians under rule of law.
8-Reforming school curriculum and the media to remove all demeaning references to non-Muslims, and introducing an educational curriculum teaching tolerance, acceptance of others, respect for human rights, and religious freedom.
We also express our conviction that a better Egypt, besides adopting this ‘Special Legislation,’ should dedicate itself to strengthen relationships of love and respect between Egyptians, both Muslim and Christian, through encouraging cooperative projects in all areas of life. We believe that what is good for the Copts is good for Egypt and what is good for Egypt is good for the Copts.
Signed unanimously on 09/25/2004 in Zurich
Resolution Executive Committee:
Adly A. Youssef Youssef Sidhom Michael Meunier
Nabil Sharaf El-Deen Nadia Ghaly Chafik Awad
The American Coptic Association
Mr. Milad Iskander
The U.K. Coptic Association
Dr. Ibrahim Habib
The European Coptic Association-France
Mr. Nagy Awad
U.S. Copts Association
Mr. Michael Meunier
Delegates to the Conference:
A number of 20 delegates from all over the world signed. A total of 80-100 participants attended throughout the 3 days conference.