Friday, March 17, 2006

Canada sends Copts back to Egypt and the U.S. Helps

It is a long article so I can not repost the whole thing (link).
Some quotes:

He's from Egypt -- a Coptic Christian who came to Canada in 2003 to make a refugee claim. He doesn't want his name used, because he's afraid his home country may punish him for speaking out.

He claims, as a young man in Egypt, he was beaten by Muslims because of his religion. His case was heard and decided by a Muslim member of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). She didn't believe he had a credible claim.

"She said that everything I said was almost a lie and she said that Egypt was safe for any Christian to live in," he said.

This is just...and pardon me, Crap. How can anyone who even does a news search say that. How can anyone who talks to these people say it is safe.

The U.S. State Department's 2005 Country Report on Human Rights says Egypt is responsible for "numerous human rights abuses" against its citizens, particularly religious minorities. The report cites numerous cases of "religious discrimination" against Coptic Christians and says there is widespread "torture and abuse" in Egyptian prisons.

Experts say Christians sent back to Egypt after making refugee claims in the west will almost certainly be detained when they arrive, and quite possibly tortured.

So, the countries know, they just don't want to face it.

He is one of approximately 20 Egyptian Christians currently facing deportation from Canada. In his case, the IRB member's decision was overturned by the federal court, which allows him to have a new refugee determination hearing.

Other Coptic Christians haven't been so fortunate; however, and have exhausted all their appeals. They are now being sent back to Egypt the same way they came in -- through the United States.

Some have already been turned over to U.S. custody. At least one was sent on to Egypt last month and his supporters say they have no idea what has happened to him since.

"He's just disappeared. He's disappeared from the record since he arrived in Egypt. He's gone," said Majed El Shafie, an Egyptian-born Christian, who now lives in Canada and runs a Christian organization called One Free World International.

"How can we send them back to be tortured?" he asked. "I think there is something wrong with the system in the Immigration and Refugee Board."

One life gone. Two great countries complicit in sending him back to where he was in danger. It's time to write a congress here.

Canada's new minister of public safety, Stockwell Day, said he doesn't think the IRB is biased against Coptic Christians. He also indicated he has faith that Egypt won't mistreat them when they return.

"When that country has made a commitment that there is not going to be torture or persecution then we expect that to be followed through with," Day said.

But are you going to do anything to make sure it does not happen, and if it does change your policy of sending them back?!!

El Shafie said Egypt has been very effective at making westerners believe it protects its people from abuse.

"The (Egyptian) government is dealing with the West and the government is expecting money and support from the west and the west will not support the Egyptian government until they are sure there is complete human rights for everyone," said El Shafie.

On the other hand, he pointed out, "While we are in this nice place (Canada) there are between six and seven thousand Egyptian Christians in jail in Egypt because they are Christian."

The refugee claimant with the Canadian wife insisted, if forced to return to Egypt, he won't allow her to follow him. He would rather leave his wife behind than subject her and their child to life in Egypt as a Christian.

"She can't go," he said, as they looked at each other with tears in their eyes, "It will be the end of her. It will be the end of my son."

"Whoever says there is no Egyptian persecution (of Christians) they just don't know anything."

This is just plain wrong. And this statement:

"Staying for me is a kind of paradise. Going back is hell."

I know how much Egypt is a part of the heart and soul of every Egyptian. I know that many would rather die than say that it is a Hell in any way. If the situation has the children of this great land calling it a is a grave sin to ignore their cries.

Some links on how to mail Congress about the United States and their role in this:

House of Representatives faq



1 comment:

erudit said...

Thanks for drawing attention to these issues!