A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
~ Krista Byrd
Washington, DC- While Americans were tuned into the news for the developments in the Boston Marathon Bombing, there was another group of people marching on the Capitol.
Thursday, April 18, Egyptians marched on Capitol Hill to protest the killing of Christians in Egypt, waving flags and shouting to be heard on the busy street.
Following a violent end to a Coptic (Egyptian Christian) funeral, which resulted in the death of one and the injury of at least 21 people, Egyptians have become fed up with the lack of American attention to this issue, both from the media and the president.
“OBAMA OBAMA WHERE ARE YOU?!” protesters chanted. “WE NEED JUSTICE! STOP KILLING CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT!”
Among the protesters were 17 and 15 year old Diana and Sophia, who took the time to explain the issue. They explained that the political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the party of the current Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi, has increased the abuse of Coptic Christians in Egypt.
Christians account for 10% of the population of Egypt. The theology of the Coptic Christians is very similar to that of Roman Catholicism; both emphasize works in salvation and ritual more than through a personal relationship with Christ, although they are followers of Christ.
In the last 40 years, tensions have deteriorated between Morsi and the Christians of Egypt. Many feel that this is in part due to the new constitution in Egypt, which was created primarily by Islamists and does not protect the rights of every religion.
In 2011, the “Maspero Massacre” was one of the biggest breaking points for many Christians, when the army killed 24 Coptics. Since then, tensions have escalated, resulting in more violence and deaths.
More recently, four Christians and one Muslim were killed after children reportedly drew a swastika on Islamic property in Cairo, resulting in a violent sectarian conflict. It was at the funeral for those Christians, that the most recent riot ensued, with mourners being tear gassed by police as Moltov cocktails were thrown inside the church. A few of the Christians reportedly began throwing rocks, and at least one bomb was thrown.
So, you may be asking yourself, why did they bring the protest to Washington DC? The Muslim Brotherhood are allies with the United States, and many feel that President Obama is not using his foreign policy to do anything to stop this kind of killing.
The protesters varied in age and background, from children and teenagers, to older adults needing assistance marching in the protest, but all were on the same page about one thing: the need for change.
As the Egyptian flag waved proudly against the backdrop of the Capitol building and the cries rang out through the streets, it is hard to imagine that the US government can ignore them for much longer.