Join Coptic Solidarity 3rd Annual
Modern Coptic Martyrs Remembrance Day
Washington DC, October 3, 2018 2:00 – 3:30 PM
Coptic Solidarity invites you to join us in commemorating and seeking justice for the many modern Coptic martyrs who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their faith at Coptic Solidarity’s 3rd Annual Modern Coptic Martyrs Remembrance Day.
This event is open to the public and media and will be hosted on
October 3, at the US Capitol Visitor Center, Room 200, from 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM.
Please RSVP to CoptAdvocacy (at) CopticSolidarity (dot) org
Confirmed Guest Speakers Include:
Dr. Jonathan Adly: Founder History of the Copts Podcast & Pharmacist
Gary Bauer: USCIRF Commissioner
Dr. Mark Eid: Executive Committee Member, Coptic Solidarity
Robert Nicholson: President of The Philos Project
Clifford Smith: Washington Project Director – Middle East Forum
On October 9th of 2011, amidst the chaos of Egypt’s first revolution on January 25th, 2011, a Coptic Orthodox church near Aswan, Upper Egypt, was demolished by local Islamist Salafists. The Islamist extremists had demanded Aswan’s Copts remove any visible Christian symbols including crosses, bells, and steeples from the church structure. Tension soared when Copts in the area refused to abide by these demands.
To avoid escalation of the conflict, the governor of Aswan, Mustafa Kamel el-Sayyed, organized a meeting between Salafist and Coptic leaders in an effort to reach an agreement. When mediation efforts failed, Islamist Salafists threatened with violence. Eventually, local Salafists demolished the church while the governor denied the existence of the church. He later took back those claims but asserted that it did not have a proper construction permit and thus was deemed to be illegal. The government’s mishandling of the issue ultimately sparked the Maspero demonstrations.
Thousands of peaceful demonstrators, the majority of whom were Copts, marched through hostile Muslim crowds from the Shoubra neighborhood in northern Cairo to the Maspero building. They had originally planned to converge in front of the state-run television station, Maspero.
INTERVIEWS AND FOOTAGE FROM THE MASPERO MASSACRE
As the demonstrators approached their destination, they were attacked by Islamist fanatic mobs that laid waiting and hurled stones at them from the top of traffic bridges. Egyptian Army forces intercepted the demonstrators who found themselves caught between them and the Islamists mobs. The Egyptian Army then attacked them using riot gear, batons, live ammunition and armored vehicles which were used to brutally murder the demonstrators by running them over.
As stated in a 2014 Coptic Solidarity press release: “Fueling the melee, state owned television station broadcast news-alerts that Coptic Christians were attacking the Egyptian military, and explicitly encouraged ‘good citizens’ to go into the streets to ‘rescue members of the military.’ The State security apparatus forcibly ended live broadcasts of the massacre by two independent TV stations in an effort to prevent the people from seeing the actual event.”
The Egyptian Army’s brutal confrontation with the crowd left 28 demonstrators dead and 327 injured. 27 of those killed were Copts; 14 of them were murdered by the armored vehicles.
OUTCOMES SINCE THE MASPERO MASSACRE
- Footage of the incident spread worldwide and became another grim reminder of the struggle faced by Christians in Egypt and throughout the Middle East
- Accounts from interviews and social media began to contradict official reports as the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) tried to downplay and even reverse accusations made about the whole incident which was orchestrated by the state.
- To date, only two low-ranking soldiers were found guilty of a misdemeanor of “involuntary killing.” Both remain free and continue to serve in their army unit.
- A Coptic demonstrator was convicted of “aggression against Army personnel.”
- The massacre is still not officially recognized as such by the government while investigations have been inconclusive.
- Autopsy reports performed per the Coptic church’s request and with the agreement of the victims’ families confirmed the carnage reported.
- Coptic Solidarity continues to call on Egypt’s government to render justice by holding those responsible accountable and urges to make October 9th a Day for Commemoration of the victims.
Become Aware Advocate Donate
- A Coptic Orthodox Church in Aswan was demolished by local Salafists on Oct. 2011
- Thousands of peaceful protestors from all over Cairo, mostly Copts, marched to the staterun television station called Maspero to protest destruction of their church
- Egyptian armed forces attacked without warning using riot gear, batons and live ammunition
- Soldiers drove armed vehicles into the protestors in zig zag patterns to hit as many individuals as possible
- State owned media announced on TV that Copts were killing Egyptian soldiers and urged good citizens to go into the streets to help the soldiers
- Ultimately, 28 protestors were killed & 212 injured; 27 of those murdered were Copts &14 were crushed by armed personnel carriers
- Only 2 lowranking soldiers—who remain free and continue to serve in their army units—have been found guilty of a misdemeanor of “involuntary killing,” in addition to a conviction against a Coptic protestor for “aggression against army personnel.”
- The massacre is still not officially recognized as such by the current ruling regime while investigations have been unfruitful.
How You Can Help?
Host a remembrance event or prayer service
Share the story #SeekMasperoJustice
Advocate through our online campaign
Protest – Oct. 9, 2011
- Thousands of peaceful demonstrators, majority Copts, marched from Shoubra neighborhood of Cairo towards the state-run television building, Maspero, to protest the destruction of their church
- They planned to have a sit-in in front of the state-run television building, Maspero
- As they approached their destination, the demonstrators were attacked by Muslim fanatic mob hurling stones at them
- Egyptian Army forces suddenly appeared on the scene and attacked the peaceful protestors without warning
- The Army forces attacked the peaceful demonstrators using riot gear, batons, live ammunition and armored vehicles
- Soldiers drove their armored vehicles into the protestors in zigzag patterns to hit as many individuals as possible
- Meanwhile, state-owned media deceptively announced on TV that Copts were killing Egyptian soldiers and enticed the “good citizens” to go into the streets to help the soldiers
- Ultimately, 28 protestors were killed and 327 were injured; 27 of those murdered were Copts,14 of whom were crushed under armed vehicles
- Autopsy reports performed at the church’s request and with the agreement of the victims’ families confirmed the carnage reported.
- Interviews and social media updates contradicted official reports of the government which downplayed and even denied accusations made about the incident being ordered by the state’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the only power in the country at the time after the demise of past president Mubarak
- To date, those who ordered the Army units to attack the demonstrators remain unknown and have not been brought to trial
- Only 2 low-ranking soldiers were found guilty of misdemeanors of “involuntary killing”, both remain free and continue to serve in their army units
- A Copt protestor was convicted for “aggression against army personnel”
- The massacre is still not officially recognized as such by the Egyptian government and investigations remain incomplete and inconclusive.
- Denial of the event and lack of justice for those criminals perpetuates a climate of impunity in which Copts, their churches, homes, and businesses continue to be targeted for violence on a regular basis as reflected in the escalation of violence against the Copts in the past two months, five years after the massacre
- The Maspero Christian youth group movement which organized the demonstration has since been muted
- It is clear that the ultimate goal by the Egyptian government and SCAF was to suppress and forever silence the political voice of the Copts
How You Can Help
- Host a prayer service at church, or a remembrance event in your home or community
- Share the Maspero story in your church bulletin – print bulletin from the online resource center
- Share about the Remembrance Day on social media using the hashtag #SeekMasperoJustice
- Visit Coptic Solidarity’s online resource center to plan your commemoration event www.copticsolidarity.org
- Support Coptic Solidarity’s mission financially by donating. Coptic Solidarity is an independent non-governmental organization that relies exclusively on the financial support of its members.