Hundreds of protestors gathered at Martin Place in Sydney on Sunday 22 February 2015, In light of ISIS' brutal murder of 21 innocent Coptic Christians, organized by the Australian Coptic Movement Association (ACM).
This latest attack has sent shockwaves throughout the entire Australian Coptic community.
Mr Hermiz Shahen, The Deputy Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance and Mr. David David, president of the Assyrian Australian National Federation joined this protest with many other members of the AUA and the Assyrian community. Mr. Shahen addressed the gathering in a show of support for the Copts of Egypt. He delivered the following in his speech:
Your immanence, Rev Fathers and honourable members of parliament,
To all Peace loving people of Australia who have gathered here today,
The Assyrian community in Australia and all over the world strongly condemns the kidnapping and execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya by affiliates of the so called Islamic State or (Daesh).
We stand in solidarity with the Coptic Church, and Coptic people of Egypt in their right to to practice their faith in safety and security, free of persecution and appeal to the Libyan and Egyptian authorities to work harder in order to arrest the criminals who committed this terrorist act and bring them to justice.
Our condolences to the families of these martyrs, to the people of Egypt, and the Coptic Church. We pray that the martyrs’ souls rest in peace and our Lord Jesus Christ rewards them with eternal paradise. May God help their families find peace in this time of grief.
Christians in general have a long history in providing the most expensive sacrifices for the sake of maintaining the Christian faith in the Middle East. Targeting people based on their religion or belief is one of the worst crimes against humanity. What is happening to Christians “is a serious violation of international law and human rights, as well as all international conventions. The crimes committed by the Islamic Terrorist (Daesh) goes beyond all conception. It's not just the war crimes of killing, displacement and torture of citizens, and the systematic plundering of the economic resources of the country; it is also the commitment of crimes against humanity, through the systematic persecution of Christians, and the destruction of churches and monasteries and theft of their property.
The blood of our Christian brothers whether it is in the Middle East , Africa or Asia; is testimony that cries out , they are continuously paying the price as a consequence of the silence of the international community. For the last twelve years, we have been shouting about the exodus of Assyrians and other indigenous Christians from Iraq and Syria. An uprooting that started after the US invasion in 2003 which was the biggest threat to the survival of our nation in modern history after the bitter genocide committed against Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks by the Ottoman Turkey during WWI.
Assyrians, like the Copts, are now dispersed throughout the world as a result of a systematic campaign of massacre and destruction. Total Christian population that used to live for thousands of years in the Assyrian ancestral homeland in Northern Iraq have been forced out of their towns and cities, over 150,000 people are living in tents under harsh conditions facing the unknown future. Approximately half of Iraq’s and Syria’s Christian pre-war population has fled the country.
In conclusion, we add our voice to yours to appeal to the United Nations, the International Community and the Australian Government to assist these nation’s needs for protection from such terrorist groups and safe living in their homelands. As the governments of those countries are unable to provide that, it becomes the duty of the international community to enable them to have security and equality with Muslims.
In the meantime we would like to thank the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sissi and the Egyptian government “for giving an immediate response to this act of terrorism, and for the government’s decision to bomb jihadist bases in Libya which clearly shows that, the Egyptian government, and the Egyptian people are suffering as a nation from these bloodthirsty terrorists.
I express our gratitude to the organisers and thank you for inviting us.
God bless you all and bless our wonderful country Australia.