Bipartisan resolution supporting Egypt’s Coptic Christians sponsored by Hill

U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-AR) on Feb. 11 proposed a bipartisan resolution requesting that the Egyptian government take additional action to promote religious tolerance and end religious discrimination against Egypt’s Coptic Christians.

“Those attacking Coptic Christians rarely face punishment, and it is long past time for the Egyptian government to end this culture of impunity, release prisoners of conscience, and enact legitimate reforms in the public sector, athletics and society to ensure Coptic Christians are given the same rights and opportunities as all other Egyptians,” Rep. Hill said on Feb. 15. 

Worldwide there are roughly 10 million Coptic Christians who belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, an Oriental Orthodox Christian church based in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East. About 8 million Copts are in Egypt, but in a politically divided country with Islam as its state, the community has not been safe from ongoing assaults and murders, according to media reports and language in H.Res. 117.

Rep. Hill sponsored House Resolution (H.Res.) 117 to support Coptic Christians in Egypt along with 10 cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and David Cicilline (D-RI). 

“Since coming to Congress I have continuously called for the end to the persecution of Egypt’s Coptic Christians, and have authored and championed this bipartisan resolution in the 115th and 116th Congresses,” said Rep. Hill. “Despite President el-Sisi’s steps in recent years to promote religious tolerance at the top levels of the Egyptian government, Coptic Christians continue to face persecution and discrimination from their fellow Egyptians throughout Egypt.”

If enacted, Rep. Hill’s resolution would state, among several provisions, that the U.S. House of Representatives urges the government of Egypt “to end the mistreatment of prisoners of conscience and to release all prisoners of conscience” and “to remove religious affiliation from national identification cards.”

Additionally, the House would ask that Egypt’s government “enact serious and legitimate reforms” across society to ensure Coptic Christians have equal rights and opportunities as all other Egyptian citizens; and “to continue to undertake the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of individuals who carry out attacks on Copts and other Christians in Egypt, and to hold accountable Government officials who fail to enforce the law.”  

H.Res. 117 has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.