18 Babah 1722 AM of the Coptic Calendar
Friday 28 th October 2005
Our Ref: B.D.02.039.04.05
His Excellence, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Canberra;
We send you our best regards and pray for your continuous success in everything.
We would like to proffer our felicitations on the fast of Ramadan, and ask the Lord God to accept the prayers of all, and to grant His grace to the whole world, edified in peace and unity among all His people, in all the continents of the world.
Your Excellence, when we enjoyed your generous hospitality in Canberra on 26th July 2005, in commemoration of the July Revolution, we noted that your Excellence is an understanding, cognizant, calm person loved by all, and our relationship became strong on the basis that we are both partners weaving the texture of the homeland, with its two wings. This homeland has a firm place in our hearts that could never be diminished by time or distance, or anything else concocted by the enemy of good, of divisions or persecutions, or sorrowful incidents that take place from time to time.
On the basis of this strong alliance between us and as members that form the one homeland, and on behalf of the Coptic Orthodox congregation in Australia and North East Asia, we would like to mention to your Excellence some points that are causing us concern these days.
1. The late incidents in Muharram Bek, Alexandria raised dangerous issues, the most important of which, possibly, was the division between the children of the one nation. It could have been dealt with in a civilized objective manner but who stands to benefit from this incident? And why would the Egyptian media mention an incident that happened two years ago? And why especially at this
time? And why didn’t the Egyptian media highlight the things that are hurting one of the two wings of the nation (the Coptic Christians), such as the T.V. series ‘The Time of Flowers’ (which is against the Gospel doctrine), the movie ‘I love the Cinema’ (demeaning worship and Church), and the series ‘A Girl From Shoubra’ (degrading the Christian Religion as a whole)? This is not something new from the Egyptian media - we can never forget what was published by ‘Al Nabaa’ newspaper, and which led to a catastrophe.
Would the Alexandria incidents lead some of our brethren from the other wing of the one nation, to ask His Holiness Pope Shenouda III Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark in Egypt and the whole world, to offer an apology? What happened in the Church’s play had the aim of enlightening our sons, and strengthening their faith. Is the Church to be answerable for such an
action? In addition, the fact is that His Holiness and the Melli Council reviewed the play, and issued a report stating that the play was faultless. What is astonishing is that the Egyptian media totally ignored the report issued by the Melli Council. Would we be justified to ask for an apology from Sheikh Al Azhar, if a Sheikh in one of the mosques insulted the Coptic Christian brethren in Egypt (which happens frequently in some mosques in Egypt during the Friday sermon; I personally heard them during one of my visits to Egypt, saying that we are infidels)? Is it plausible that the Alexandria incident would warrant the requirement of shedding the blood of His Holiness Pope Shenouda, which reference was clearly made in one of the Egyptian newspapers? Is it one of Islam’s teachings that one of its groups would carry out acts of vandalism on areas adjoining the incident area? What is the guilt of these people whose properties were vandalized? Your Excellence the Ambassador: All of these questions are crossing the minds of the educated, and those who have sincere love for their country. The issue is much, much deeper.
We honestly wish to thank the President Mr. Muhammad Hosni Mubarak for his quick reaction to the Alexandria incidents, yet the matter needs to be investigated in depth, with objectivity and sagacity. The huge amount of religious Egyptian media, of articles, T.V. series, movies and many other things creates the need for accurate investigation by responsible officials at the country’s highest level, to bring it to a civilized level of progress and care for others, and to implement a constructive system, logical criticism, clarity and wisdom.
We would also add that some of the Egyptian writers are the real cause of this impasse. For example, Dr. Emarah mentions many times in his articles that the Holy Bible is corrupted, and that Christians are infidels, and that there is no other religion but Islam. This issue needs a vigilant approach by responsible officials as well.
The Alexandrian incidents of thousands of Muslims demonstrating in front of a church could not have happened without planning. The observer of these events would know that there was a planning and organizing mind and parties providing financial support and others carrying out these actions; and the discovery of these realties after the incidents, constitutes a real threat to Egypt’s security. The Intelligence & Security Departments in developed countries discover incidents before they occur and become ‘Proactive’ rather than ‘Reactive’. They also execute a vision and a strategy and a plan to face such incidents that threaten the peace of any country and destroy its civilization.
We are calling for an investigation into the Alexandrian incidents, to discover the causes, so that such incidents won’t happen again. Enough time, effort and finances have been spent to fix such irresponsible actions. It would have been better spent on the development and progress of Egypt, our beloved country.
2. We petition your Excellence with regards to another issue of similar importance and it is: What is the status of the Copts on the political and social map of Egypt, their country?
>> The nominations to the ruling National party for the General Assembly include 2 Coptic Christians only out of 444 Coptic Muslim nominees. One of the two Copts, Maher Khella, nominated for the Ghorbal area in Muharram Bek in Alexandria, withdrew because of these latest incidents. If we consider the statistics, we find that the ratio of one Coptic nominee in a total of 444 Coptic Muslim nominees is 0.225%. So, we wonder why this happens? Aren’t we as the President said: "The Copts are one of the two wings of the one nation"? And as H.H. Pope Shenouda III also said: "Egypt is a nation that lives inside us, not a nation in that we live".
Your Excellence the Ambassador, freedom of doctrine and opinion, respect of others, living in peace and applying real democracy are all bases of developed countries. We live in Australia in a society consisting of 200 nationalities; they all live in peace, love their country and do their best for its development. Our beloved country Egypt has one nationality only and it is the Coptic Nationality, as the word ‘Copt’ comes from the word ‘Egyptous’, which means in old Egyptian history “Egyptian”.
Your Excellence the Ambassador, we thank you for your love, and we entreat your Excellence to send a copy of this letter to the President, Mr. Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, and to the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Egyptian Minister of Information, the Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and to Sheikh Al Azhar.
Again, we wish you all the prosperity and success in your great mission and we ask Your Excellence that if you were to receive any response from any officials in Egypt, to kindly send it to us to clarify the picture for the 70,000 (seventy thousand) Coptic Christians living in Australia, and a number of Coptic Christian families living in North East Asia, because they are deeply infuriated by the latest incidents, especially the issue of shedding the blood of His Holiness’ the Pope.
Your Excellence, we are the children of the martyrs and we do not fear death. Emperor Diocletian killed one million Coptic Christians in the third century (particularly in the year 284 AD), yet the Coptic Christians still exist in Egypt but also in the whole world.
What happened is objectionable; it presents an image that we wouldn’t want for our beloved country, Egypt.
May the Lord preserve Your Excellence for us, and for Egypt our beloved and precious country.
With the Grace of God
Bishop of Sydney And Affiliated Regions,
Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia.