Coptic leaders have been unsuccessful in efforts to get an audience with Obama. Perhaps he fears that to meet with them would be “Islamophobic.”
“Coptic Christians Voicing Frustration With White House As Persecution Widens in Egypt,” by Youssef Ibrahim for the New York Sun, May 22 (thanks to George):
The leaders of Coptic Christians, whose community is facing growing persecution in Egypt, say they have been unsuccessful in efforts to gain a hearing from the White House or other parts of the Obama administration.
Heightened persecution of Egypt’s 12 million Christians coupled with growing power and prestige of their Coptic Diaspora in America and Australia is leading to new political efforts here. Educated and skilled Egyptian Copts who migrated in large numbers in recent decades are talking to Congress, organizing lobbies, and making other efforts to be heard.
They say they are frustrated by the current administration in Washington, particularly after President Obama’s overture to the Muslim world via a speech at Cairo. In the speech Mr. Obama President apologized for America’s misdeeds to Muslims, stating that he came “to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” Coptic leaders say that even while reaching out to Muslims the administration has turned a deaf ear to the pleas Arab Christian minority in the very country where he delivered his apology to Muslims.
“The Obama administration’s benign neglect of Arab Christians, is putting freedoms and human rights in the whole Middle East at risk,” is the way it was put in an interview with the Sun by the president of the U.S. Copts Association, Michael Meunier, who is headquartered in Washington “Friendships with Muslims has been the Obama Administration’s opening theme from his first day in office and in that famed Cairo speech in which he extended a hand to all Muslims in partnership.”
Mr. Meunier added that that the president’s failure to speak as extensively about the persecution of Arab Christians was a departure from American policy and a grave error. “We have no problems with American friendships with Islam and Muslims, but it cannot be accomplished at the expense of our rights as Egyptian Christians and Arab Christians, and as the very lives of our people there are endangered,” Mr. Meunier told the Sun.
One area of complaint by the Copt community is a law banning the repair or construction of churches without a “presidential decree.” The measure, known as the Hamayuni Law, is based on an 1856 Ottoman decree but was rarely enforced in Egypt under the monarchial dynasty overthrown by army officers in 1952….