Coptic Christians in Australia will be wondering why Julia Gillard, PM of Australia has not issued a public condemnation of the recent terrorist attack on innocent Christians in Alexandria during a New Year’s Eve Mass. According to the Assyrian news agency, a the security services were withdrawn from the church shortly before the service on 31/12/2010. A Skoda drew up and the car explosion that went off in front of Saints Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria killing 21 and injured 96 parishioners who were attending a New Year's Eve Mass.
According to eyewitnesses, a green Skoda car pulled up outside the church shortly after midnight. Two men got out, one of them talked shortly on his mobile phone, and the explosion occurred almost immediately after they left the scene. On the back of the Skoda was a sticker with the words "the rest is coming….”. It was reported that the bomb, locally made, had 100KG of explosives in addition to having nails, glass and iron balls inside. The strength of it not only caused glass panes to be shattered in all the neighborhood, but also made body parts fly into the building's fourth floor, and to the mosque facing the church. (source)
A video caught some of the aftermath and the barbaric shouts of ‘Allahu akbar”.
Imagine sitting in your own church or synagogue or meeting hall in Australia and having people come to kill you. This is precisely what the innocent parishioners of the Saints Coptic Orthodox church experienced suddenly losing family members and friends in front of their eyes. Prior to this, a frenzied group of Muslims had chanted slogans against the Copts after their Friday prayers at a mosque. One may draw one’s own conclusions about this.
After Friday prayers On December 31 and in front of Al Kayed Gohar Mosque in Alexandria, Salafi Muslims held the 17th in the series of demonstrations against the Coptic Church and its Pope Shenouda, repeating the Iraqi Al-Qaeda threats against Egypt's Coptic Church, demanding the release of the two priests' wives, Wafaa Constatine and Camilia Shehata, whom they claim had converted to Islam but were being held against their will by the church in monasteries . (source)
It has now been five days since the attack. Condemnations have been issued by President Obama, Pope Benedict XVI and have also come from Britain, Jerusalem, Moscow, Vietnam, Germany, and even from groups of Muslims in several countries including Iraq and Iran. NSW opposition leader has condemned the attacks:
NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell has condemned the recent attack on a Coptic church in Egypt and has expressed his concern about reports of threats against members of Australia's Coptic community. "On behalf of the NSW Liberals & Nationals, I extend my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the innocent people killed in the New Years day attack against worshippers leaving a Coptic Orthodox church in Alexandria, Egypt," Mr O'Farrell said. "Our thoughts are also extended to the more than 100,000 Coptic Australians, who share the grief felt in Egypt," he said. (source)
Why the silence from the Federal leadership – a silence that is shameful and deafening? So far, Julia Gillard and even Diplomatic Minister, International Relations Performer Extraordinaire Kevin Rudd have not issued a public condemnation of the horrendous attacks. Australia is home to between 80,000 - 100,000 Coptic Australians. The Copts predate the Muslims in Egypt by several centuries and they are present in many countries of the world. They, like other migrants to Australia have been peaceful and generous immigrants who have only benefited Australia from the time they have come here.
In a concerning development, many Coptic churches around the world will be under security guard for their Christmas celebrations will fall at this time [according to the Coptic calendar] .
Coptic churches around Europe are expressing fears for their safety following a New Year's Day attack on a church in Egypt that had been listed on an Islamist website. The same site, which is affiliated with the al Qaeda terror network, listed 16 Coptic churches in Europe, including four in France and three each in England and Germany. (source)
Even Muslims in Holland have offered to guard Coptic churches in Amsterdam and it is interesting that they have now put themselves at risk because of this - although it is hard to disentangle the motives some might say.
Dutch Muslims on Tuesday offered to guard three Coptic churches in the Netherlands which have been threatened on an Al-Qaeda-linked website after a New Year's Day bombing killed 21 Coptic Christians in Egypt. The Dutch Muslim Council, the Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands and the Federation of Islamic Organisations "offer protection" to three Dutch Coptic churches which were among 50 in Egypt and Europe threatened on a list on an Al-Qaeda-linked website, they said in a statement. The Dutch Islamic groups promised to ensure that "Muslims are ready to guard the three churches, in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven, against the threat by Al-Qaeda". (source)
In all fairness to our Coptic friends in Australia and around the world, this outrage against the Coptic community must be acknowledged publicly by the political leaders of Australia. All those on AIM – from many ethnic, religious and secular backgrounds stand together with out Coptic brothers and sisters in condemnation of this barbaric act and call on the Prime Minister of Australia to speak for civilised people to join in this condemnation.
If anyone wishes to voice their personal views on the matter here is the PM's address:
Hon Julia Gillard MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 7700
Fax: (02) 6273 4100