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Public Statements

Attacks in Egypt

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families and communities of the Egyptians who lost their lives in the recent New Year's bomb attack. The horror of this tragedy continues to reverberate across the world--a tragedy in which those peacefully practicing their faith were attacked and brutally murdered.

* The Government of Egypt has a responsibility to protect all its citizens. Sadly, it has not done that. Over the last decade, there has been a disturbing pattern of the Government allowing, condoning, or responding with apathy to attacks against Christians in Egypt. There is simply no excuse for the lack of protection in this recent attack, last year's Christmas attack, and any other attacks against the Christian community or their places of worship and service.

* When will the Egyptian Government wake up to its duty to protect its citizens?

* Until Egypt is a free country where all Egyptians are able to peacefully practice their faith without fear or restriction, none of Egypt is truly free. Those in the government who would support the extremists who engage in these attacks are the ones who undermine democracy, freedom, and stability for the Egyptian people.

* Again, governments do not need to take overt action for discrimination or persecution to occur. Denial of justice occurs by governments when the governments themselves, though not directly involved in persecution, indirectly encourage it by their statements, actions and subsequent policies. Instead, they look the other way when injustice happens. A prime example of this is the 1998 Al-Kosheh case in which the government exonerated individuals charged with persecuting, arresting, and torturing over 1,000 Coptic Christians, and even gave job promotions to the state security officials responsible for the persecution. That is not protection of citizens and that is not justice.

* I call on the Egyptian Government to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime against the Copts, and ultimately against the people of Egypt, are brought to justice.

* To the Coptic community, please know that our hearts and prayers go out to you in this time of grief and loss. We stand with you.

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