Monday, June 25, 2007

Offical Announcment to all news media

This is a repost of something over at Neferteeti's blog:

The American Coptic Association, the International Christian Union, and other National and International Human Rights Organizations in and outside of the United States will hold Solidarity Rally on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 in front of the United Nation building between 44th and 45th street in New York City between 12: 00 Noon until 2:00 PM.

The purpose of the rally is to protest the bloodshed, murder and destruction of the property,
recently incurred by the Christian Community in Egypt. Although this has been happening for
many years, these attacks have been intensifying and more frequent. The criminal perpetrators
are using swords to kill, and the government of Egypt looks the other way. This appears to be
a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Copts (Christians of Egypt) carried out
by fanatical Muslims and blessed by Mubarak's government!!

Copts are the largest minority in the world without rights! A stable Egypt is very important in
that part of the world. The atrocities facing the Copts exemplify the intolerance by the Mubarak regime towards non-Muslim minorities. It is therefore the duty of every freedom loving person to speak out in defense of the persecuted Coptic community, particularly since the Copts in Egypt are unable to defend themselves or speak out.

Your coverage of this rally is crucial in order to shed a light on the persecution of non-Muslim
minorities in the Middle East. Your participation and subsequent coverage of the rally would
serve as a reminder to those in the Middle East who spread intolerance, hate, persecution and
oppression, that their actions are noticed and condemned. It would support the basic Human
Rights of Middle East minorities such as the Copts and others. We believe that a free media is
the voice of the weak, voiceless, and the oppressed.

Thank you for your anticipated support. For further information please contact:

Monir A. Dawoud, MD.
President of I.C.U. (International Christian Union)
President of A.C.A. (American Coptic Association)
Fax: (201) 863 6600
Phone: (201) 863 6600 Office
(201) 424 1001 Cellular

Monday, June 18, 2007

Judge stops Khouzam deportation

The Story is here (link)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

Egypt’s Copts, Muslims clash

Here is the story (link)

- Violent clashes have erupted between Muslims and Coptic Christians in the northern city of Alexandria and elsewhere in Egypt, newspapers reported.

One clash was sparked by a row between a young Copt and the son of the imam of the city’s Bilal mosque which resulted in dozens of the faithful from both sides fighting outside the Church of the Holy Virgin in Al-Dekhela district.

Several people were hurt and police arrested 13 Muslims and Copts yesterday, said the independent newspaper Al-Masri Al-Yom which added that the incident underlined growing tensions in the port city and elsewhere.

Anti-riot police had sent 35 vehicles to patrol the district inhabited by members of both communities.

In another incident on Thursday, four people were taken to hospital and 35 arrested in the village of Saft Meydum, south of Cairo.

Violence erupted after a Coptic youth on a bicycle rode into a young Muslim girl whose relatives stormed into the streets heading towards the cyclist’s home intending to stone it, newspapers said.

Copts are estimated to form six to 10 percent of Egypt’s 76 million people.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A review of Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition

Faith and a man. Faith removes the shell and rough scars of life and renews us like children. Christ sums it up clearly:

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them,
and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:2-3

There is of course more theology to that verse, but the above is a good application. Is there anything else that can take an adult and just with a sight or a smell turn him back into a child in his heart? For many of us there is baseball.

I see a game.
Pick up a mitt, bat or ball.
See a kid with a baseball cap.

And I’m a child again. In my heart I can run as fast as when I was ten. I can dive across a baseball diamond. I can hit a ball a country mile.

A child does not worry about how the Trinity is one God in three divine persons; except by the power of God.

A child does not worry about how the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ; except by the power of God.

And that same child brushes their teeth and dreams about hitting a walk off home run in game seven of the World Series.

I was that child. Millions of us were that child. Think for a moment that you are a child today.

You are ten. You are a baseball fan. You love Mike Sweeny of the Kansas City Royals. And Mike Sweeny says:

“I truly believe that it is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. People say, “how can you believe that?” I say, “Why Can’t you believe that?” For me as a man of God, I don’t put restrictions on the Holy Spirit.
-Mike Sweeny

What does that mean to your faith?

You are 10. You love baseball, but you hate getting up for Mass at 7:30 Sunday morning. You love the Cardinals. And Jeff Suppan and David Eckstein talk about how they make it top priority to go to mass no matter how difficult it is with all the travel.

Substitute the players from when you were a child. Who might you be today in your faith, had those words found you? Faith makes you as a child. Baseball makes you as a child. In all honesty that difference can be made in you even today.

Last night I watched a DVD called Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition. This is a DVD where some of the leading figures in Baseball talk about their Catholic faith. It shows that a real man is a man of Christ. And as someone personally devoted to St. Joseph that kind of message is very dear to my heart.

I worried at first: Is this going to be one of those hokey things? Will this be one of the many outreach efforts with tacked on Christianity? Will people be talking in ways that no one talks in real life? Will they be saying words no one says?

That answer is a huge no. It is not hokey or labored in its points. It is natural because these men are honestly and really speaking about their lives. They are sharing stories and a personal love for Christ.

Never in my life did I think that I would hear some of the major figures in Baseball talk about the Eucharist, Prayer and how Christ fills their lives.

For me this film really touched me.

In this age when people around the world suffer for the Love of Christ and many are afraid to speak His name, it is refreshing for young and old to see high profile athletes saying proudly that He is their Lord.

In this age when steroids dominate almost every baseball story it is good for people young and old to see men talking about the lift Christ brings to their life.

People who read this blog know that I don’t sell things. I’m not about that. But I can say with all my heart that if you love baseball and Christ (Catholic or not, though this is a great tool for Catholic Churches, Schools and youth groups) watch this film.

For 65 minutes you will be a child again. Your faith will be alive in your heart and you will be jumping into the ivy at Wrigley field or at the 318 foot mark in Yankee Stadium pulling a home run back in the park.

And then you have the challenge: Continue it past the 65 minutes. Show your youth group. Show your mother and father. Show your Son and Daughter. Show your wife. Be as a child and speak out loud that Christ is Lord.

I learned last night that I can always be a child again. I saw again that the Eucharist needs to be at the heart of my life and that in my heart I can still hit a walk off home run in game seven of the World Series.

Website for Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition (link)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Rights groups oppose deportation of Coptic Christian

The Story (link)


LANCASTER, Pennsylvania -- U.S. human rights activists are opposing the proposed deportation of a Coptic Christian, alleging the man could face torture or death in his native Egypt.

While 38-year-old Sameh Khouzam initially was allowed to stay in the United States due to such fears, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office now has decided to deport him for an Egyptian homicide charge, The New York Times said Wednesday.

But while the Egyptian government has ensured the safety of the resident of Lancaster, Pa., activists are dubious regarding Khouzam's actual future in Egypt.

Those activists pointed to Khouzam's repeated allegations that he was tortured in Egypt previously and the case drew the interest of the American Civil Liberties Union.

ACLU officials are asking for a stay of Khouzam's deportation and ultimately want him released for custody. They argue deporting Khozam to Egypt for the homicide charge would be tantamount to violating the United Nations' Convention Against Torture, the Times said.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Muslim Friend's Letter to Slain Father Ragheed

I'll repost the story (link)

ROME, JUNE 6, 2007 ( Here is a translation of a letter written posthumously to Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni by a Muslim friend of his who is a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Father Ragheed and three deacons were shot and killed in Mosul, Iraq, on Sunday after Mass.

* * *

In the name of the compassionate and merciful God,

Ragheed, my brother,

I ask your forgiveness for not being with you when those criminals opened fire against you and your brothers. The bullets that have gone through your pure and innocent body have also gone through my heart and soul.

You were one of the first people I met when I arrived to Rome. We met in the halls of the Angelicum and we would drink our cappuccino in the university's cafeteria. You impressed me with your innocence, joy, your pure and tender smile that never left you.

I always picture you smiling, joyful and full of zest for life. Ragheed is to me innocence personified; a wise innocence that carries in its heart the sorrows of his unhappy people. I remember the time, in the university's dining room, when Iraq was under embargo and you told me that the price of a single cappuccino would have satisfied the needs of an Iraqi family for a whole day.

You told me this as if you were feeling guilty for being far away from your persecuted people and unable to share in their sufferings …

In fact, you returned to Iraq, not only to share the suffering and destiny of your people but also to join your blood to the blood of thousands of Iraqis killed each day. I will never forget the day of your ordination [Oct. 13, 2001] in the [Pontifical] Urbanian University … with tears in your eyes, you told me: "Today, I have died to self" … a hard thing to say.

I didn't understand it right away, or maybe I didn't take it as seriously as I should have. … But today, through your martyrdom, I have understood that phrase. … You have died in your soul and body to be raised up in your beloved, in your teacher, and so that Christ would be raised up in you, despite the sufferings, sorrows, despite the chaos and madness.

In the name of what god of death have they killed you? In the name of which paganism have they crucified you? Did they truly know what they were doing?

O God, we don't ask you for revenge or retaliation. We ask you for victory, a victory of justice over falsehood, life over death, innocence over treachery, blood over the sword. … Your blood will not have been shed in vain, dear Ragheed, because with it you have blessed the soil of your country. And from heaven, your tender smile will continue to light the darkness of our nights and announce to us a better tomorrow.

I ask your forgiveness, brother, for when the living get together they think they have all the time in the world to talk, visit, and share feelings and thoughts. You had invited me to Iraq … I dreamed of that visit, of visiting your house, your parents, your office. … It never occurred to me that it would be your tomb that one day I would visit or that it would be verses from my Quran that I would recite for the repose of your soul …

One day, before your first trip to Iraq after a prolonged absence, I went with you to buy souvenirs and presents for your family. You spoke with me of your future work: "I would like to preside over the people on the base of charity before justice" -- you said.

It was difficult for me to imagine you a "canonical judge" … And today your blood and your martyrdom have spoken for you, a verdict of fidelity and patience, of hope against all suffering, of survival, in spite of death, in spite of everything.

Brother, your blood hasn't been shed in vain, and your church's altar wasn't a masquerade. … You assumed your role with deep seriousness until the end, with a smile that would never be extinguished … ever.

Your loving brother,

Adnam Mokrani
Rome, June 4, 2007
Professor of Islamic Studies in the Institute for the Study of Religion and Culture,
Pontifical Gregorian University

[Original text: Arabic. Translation by ZENIT]