Corker, Alexander, Blunt: Attacks Against Christians In Egypt Warrant A Clear U.S. Response

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator Bob Corker, (R-Tn.), the ranking Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Senators Lamar Alexander, (R-Tn.), and Roy Blunt, (R-Mo.), said recent reports of more frequent, targeted attacks against Coptic churches and individuals in Egypt “warrants a clear U.S. response.”

They stated, “Egypt’s Christian minority and their ability to worship are in danger. The situation warrants a clear U.S. response.  We are especially troubled by reports that Egyptian authorities have failed to respond to attacks on Christians and churches, or hold perpetrators accountable,” wrote the senators. “It is our view that Egypt is part of a broader trend: religious freedoms throughout the Middle East and South Central Asia, particularly for Christians, are under assault.  The U.S. must respond to this challenge and continue to be a forceful defender of religious freedom throughout the world.  We recognize this is not an easy task.  We offer our support and stand prepared to work with you as you find ways to use U.S. influence to stop sectarian violence and end the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt.”

Full text of the letter is included below:

Dear Secretary Kerry:

The deteriorating situation of Egypt’s Christian minority is a matter of great concern.  Documented, large-scale attacks against Christians in Maspero in October 2011, Imbaba in May 2011, and Alexandria in January 2011, resulted in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries.  Recent reports of more frequent, targeted attacks against Coptic churches and individuals in Egypt are deeply troubling.  In the recent violent unrest and military crackdown, 38 churches, 58 Coptic-owned houses, and 85 businesses were destroyed over the course of just four days.

Egypt’s Christian minority and their ability to worship are in danger. The situation warrants a clear U.S. response.  We are especially troubled by reports that Egyptian authorities have failed to respond to attacks on Christians and churches, or hold perpetrators accountable.  Reports from international human rights groups describe an 18-hour attack on Christians in the Nagah Hassan district of Dab’iya, during which security forces, including police from Qurna and Luxor, and Central Security Forces riot police, were present at the scene but failed to take any action to stop the violence and prevent casualties.  The local security officer in charge reportedly told an international investigator that “it’s not [the police’s] job to stop killings.  We just investigate afterward.”

We know that you have recently decided to recalibrate U.S. assistance to Egypt in light of the government’s violent and heavy-handed response to ongoing protests.  As you continue to review U.S. policy towards Egypt and consider how to advance U.S. interests in this country, we ask that you speak out clearly and publicly against the cycle of violence in Egypt.  Specifically, we urge you to highlight the responsibility of interim Egyptian government to protect Coptic Christians and other minorities.  We request you indicate the specific steps the State Department is taking to reinforce this issue with the Egyptian government, as well as the specific steps the Egyptian government is taking to protect Coptic churches, communities, and individuals.  Finally, we ask that you move quickly to nominate someone with exceptional qualifications in the field of human rights and religious freedoms to be the next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

It is our view that Egypt is part of a broader trend: religious freedoms throughout the Middle East and South Central Asia, particularly for Christians, are under assault.  The U.S. must respond to this challenge and continue to be a forceful defender of religious freedom throughout the world.  We recognize this is not an easy task.  We offer our support and stand prepared to work with you as you find ways to use U.S. influence to stop sectarian violence and end the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Sincerely,

Bob Corker

Lamar Alexander                                           

Roy Blunt


New Hiener Book Of Historic Chattanooga Photos Available At Zarzours

The new Paul Hiener Historic Chattanooga Photos book published by Chattanoogan.com is available at Zarzours Restaurant. Zarzours is located on the Southside on Rossville Avenue behind the Main Street Fire Hall #1. Mr. Hiener, a longtime Chattanooga printer and lifelong resident, collected over 3,000 historic pictures of his beloved hometown. He made some of the photos ... (click for more)

Police Blotter: Tire Thieves Hit Rossville Boulevard Business

Police said tire thieves hit a Rossville Boulevard business in an overnight raid. At 4300 Rossville Blvd., someone stole brand-new tires off five racks. There were 10 or more tires on each rack. The total loss may be over 50 new tires. The thieves apparently threw the tires over a fence after getting inside. * * * At Belk's at Hamilton Place, a loss prevention ... (click for more)

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents - And Response

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Cost Of No Discipline

At the start of the current school year, state education officials gathered at some “state testing task force” when disciplinary records from across Tennessee happened to be revealed. You probably are unaware of this, as it seems to have been kept on the “down low,” but statewide a full 20 percent of the black males in our public schools were suspended at least once during the 2014-2015 ... (click for more)

Top-Ranked Bradley Uses Fast Start To Beat Baylor

There’s no question that the Bradley Bears are ranked first in the initial state wrestling poll and they proved they deserve to be in that top spot following a 43-30 victory over the Baylor Red Raiders. Baylor is ranked fourth in that first poll and will surely be a force to be reckoned with in Division II as the season progresses, but the Bears are head and shoulders ahead after ... (click for more)

Run-And-Gun Tyner Shoots Down Red Bank 71-33

Tyner opponents better batten down the hatches if the Rams ever iron out their half-court offensive struggles. Even without that weapon showing up Tuesday night, the Rams showed they have a run-and-gun assault that can bury an opponent under an avalanche of points. And their defense is as tenacious as ever. Tyner outscored Red Bank 15-0 to start the second quarter ... (click for more)