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



Beer Board Votes To Dismiss Charges Against Coyote Jack's

Charges were dismissed against Coyote Jacks Saloon, 1401 Cowart St., at the meeting of the Chattanooga Beer Board at the Thursday morning. The bar was charged with denying prompt access to police officers and of  employees drinking while on the premises. Both are in violation of the city’s beer code. The incident stemmed from a call which dispatched Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man Who Was Recently Charged With Murder Is Accused In Another Earlier Shooting

Chattanooga Police have charged Britian Crutcher with the September 2017 shooting of LaSandra Burdette. Ms. Burdette, 26, was shot just after 3 a.m. in the 2000 block of Ocoee Street in Avondale. Her vehicle was involved in a minor wreck just before the shooting. The shooter was in another vehicle. Police recently charged Crutcher in the homicide of 28-year-old ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Teacher's Pay Cut

The Hamilton County School Board will hold a “working session” Thursday afternoon as steps continue to formulate the FY2019 budget and it is a frightening process in a badly-broken system. Everybody knows it is equally embarrassing and after watching teachers who “have had enough” go on strikes in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kentucky this spring, I guarantee you that Tennessee is ... (click for more)

Tankersley One-Hitter Leads Silverdale Past CCS

Silverdale had beaten Chattanooga Christian by a 7-0 final in a   softball game at CCS a few weeks ago, but the Lady Chargers were hoping to turn the tide after allowing just two earned runs in that earlier game. Things didn’t turn out as planned for the Lady Chargers Thursday evening at Silverdale. The Lady Seahawks are a really good hitting team and they showed it ... (click for more)

Fulmer Gets 4-Year Contract As Vols Athletic Director

University of Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport announced Thursday that Director of Athletics Phil Fulmer has signed a four-year contract. Fulmer took over as UT's Director of Athletics on Dec. 1, 2017.   "Phillip has been a great partner over the last four months and I commend him for the work he has done with our student-athletes, coaches and staff," Davenport ... (click for more)