Coptic Solidarity strongly condemns the cowardly church bombings on Palm Sunday in Tanta, and Alexandria, Egypt, which murdered at least 43 and injured over 120 individuals.
Although ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, this remains to be confirmed, as it has claimed responsibility for other attacks in the past. Moreover, ISIS-Egypt is a homegrown terror network that flourishes on Islamic "theology of hatred" that prevails in Egypt.
This latest pogrom comes four months after the bombing at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Cairo, which murdered 28 Copts and injured dozens more. In February, ISIS released a video calling Copts their "favorite prey" and warning of increased attacks. In February and March over 355 Christian families were forced to flee their homes in Northern Sinai, after horrific killings of Copts by Islamists.
Despite these horrific murders, public declarations and ISIS videos, including the one released upon the martyrdom of 20 Copts in on Libya's shores which stated, "A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross," the Egyptian government has done little to protect its Christian citizens, and perpetrators became more emboldened in their heinous attacks.
Under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's rule, the Egyptian state has failed to protect its Coptic citizens. In response to Sunday's attacks, President El-Sisi has declared a three-month emergency period and few other largely symbolic measures. He failed to dismiss his minister of interior and other security chiefs for their incompetence or to declare specific plans to combat hate speech and incitements by his Salafi allies that is at the root of these attacks.
During his recent visit to Washington, D.C., president Sisi denied the mere existence of discrimination against Copts. Yet, the Egyptian government is directly responsible for allowing the proliferation of hateful Islamic fundamentalist ideology that has infiltrated almost every aspect of the Egyptian society and resulted in the thorough marginalization of Copts and made them second-class citizens in their own country.
Given such incompetence, denial or collusion by Egyptian authorities, Coptic Solidarity demands an independent inquiry by the UN to evaluate the Copts' situation and to recommend necessary measures to alleviate their dire situation and to avoid repetition of the tragic situation of Christians in Iraq and Syria.