Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) today released the following statement about an attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt over the weekend:
"I was deeply troubled by events over the weekend in Cairo where mostly Coptic Christians were reportedly attacked as they left a funeral at St. Mark's Cathedral. One young man was killed and scores more wounded. Most disturbingly, according to some news reports, riot police with armored vehicles and tear-gas canons, who had been dispatched to the scene to defuse violence and protect the mourners, appeared to enter the clash on the side of the crowd who were throwing rocks and fire bombs at the mourners.
"This is just the latest in a string of sectarian attacks that has left Egypt's sizeable Coptic community understandably fearful and questioning whether there is a place for them in today's Egypt.
"I share their concerns. In February I visited Egypt. I went to St. Mark's Cathedral. I met with Coptic Christians. I came away disturbed by what I heard. Religious freedom is daily under assault throughout the region. There is a perception that the U.S. is either disengaged or simply uninterested in advocating for this and other basic human rights.
"In the absence of leadership on the part of the Obama administration, I remain committed to seeing legislation (H.R. 301) to create a high-level State Department Special Envoy, solely focused on protecting and preserving the rights of religious minorities in the Middle East and South Central Asia, become law. Coptic Christians and others like them deserve as much."
Wolf has been a longtime advocate for religious minorities in Asia and the Middle East, including Coptic Christians. In February, he travelled to Lebanon and Egypt, where he met with high-ranking government officials, religious leaders, humanitarian aid organizations and refugees who have fled Syria.