Christians United Against Religious Persecution
About twelve thousand persons, representing different Christian churches and religious communities, united in a demonstration against the massacre of Copts in Maspiro on past October 9 2011 where 27 Coptic Christians were killed and over 300 were injured after the Egyptian military shot them and drove with APCs over them, and against the oppression of the Copts in the Arab Republic of Egypt.
The demonstration was held in the center of Vienna on Friday October 21 2011 afternoon. The demo was led by the Cardinal of the Austrian Catholic Church Dr. Christoph Schönborn and the Coptic Bishop in Austria, Anba Gabriel, and many representatives of other Christian religious groups came from Vienna as well as from different Austrian cities and towns. The march began from before the Opera, followed the Ring Street through Ballhausplatz before of the Hofburg, the residency of Austrian President Dr. Heinz Fischer and Chancellor Mr. Faymann, and stopped in front of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, where a final prayer of mourning took place outside and inside the Cathedral. (Click once on the small picture to make it bigger).
The demonstrators carried a model of a coffin covered with black, and raised wooden crosses flowers and a several signs representing their demands. They chanted for the freedom of worship and demanded that the Egyptian authorities stop the violence, persecution, and massacres against the Coptic minority in Egypt. They chanted asking if the life of Christians is worth nothing, claimed that the Copts in Egypt were guilty ONLY because they are Christians, and that because of this, extremist Muslims were causing them troubles without end. They raised signs which demand an end to the kidnapping of Coptic girls who are forcibly converted to Islam and married with Muslims.
A prayer was held at St. Stephen’s square and another one inside St. Stephen’s Cathedral, in which Cardinal Schönborn invited Bishop Anba and all religious group representatives to join in the prayers for the Christian victims who were killed by unjust violence in Egypt. After the first prayed ended, Cardinal Schönborn and Bishop Anba prayed inside Stephen’s Cathedral and lightened candles for in the memory of and blessing the Christian martyrs.
The Coptic Bishop in Austria, Anba Gabriel, stated during a press conference held on last October 17 2011 at the Church of the Virgin Mary, that over 100.000 Copts are known to have emigrated from Egypt because of the religious oppression.
It should be noted here that on October 11 2011 the Egyptian authorities executed Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, also known as Al-Kmoni, at the Arab tower jail West of Alexandria. Al-Kmoni was accused of carrying out the terrorist murders of Nag Hammadi against Coptic Christians on past January 6 2010 during the celebration of Christmas.
Regarding the massacre of last 11 October, the Egyptian military claims that they reacted to people among the Coptic demonstrators who captured, disarmed and burnt several military personnel in a car. (Please Click here to see the film), the Copts deny responsibility for this and claimed that the Egyptian military shot them and drove with APCs over them. (Please Click here to see the film). It is possible that this is the work of provocateurs infiltrated into the demo working for parties interested in maintaining sectarian tensions.
I sent several questions to the Egyptian Embassy in Vienna asking them for a statement regarding the problems around the Coptic community and the demo of today, but they have chosen to remain silent on the demo of today and the serious accusations against the Egyptian Authorities.