By: Ashraf Ramelah
Voice of the Copts
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
As an Italian citizen and a Catholic by marriage, I am writing to your Holiness on behalf of my human rights organization, Voice of the Copts. Our mission is to raise awareness in the West about the plight of the Egyptian Christians and their struggle against Islamic supremacy. Born into a Coptic family in Cairo, Arabic was my native language while growing up. Today I find these assets valuable in interpreting and explaining current events as they pertain to the hidden realities of Islam and its impact on the free world.
For many years I have found various doors opened to our organization, and many willing to listen to the grim facts now facing democratic nations dealing with an encroaching Islam. Only the grace of God has kept us in our work as we have put our personal finances to good use in fulfilling our goals.
Naturally, I thought the Christian community around the world and especially denominations in the United States would embrace my message and join with us in this very serious endeavor. I found the opposite to be true. Most churches, including the Coptic Orthodox and the Catholic Church, are, if not indifferent, uninterested in offering us opportunities to speak out on the dangers of what lies behind the persecution of Christians and Jews even as we have asked for no special treatment and no financial contributions.
To put it bluntly, whenever we met with Catholic bishops and priests in America to tell the story of Copts, our request for action was largely ignored. I was utterly mystified by the consistency of this response. I found it inexplicable – until now.
My answer arrived just a few days ago with an incident involving Catholic Bishop McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts who reversed his decision to have a friend of mine, Robert Spencer — a fellow activist, author and expert on Islam — speak at their men’s conference on March 16. The Bishop caved in to the false charges of an Islamic supremacist group that viciously attacked Mr. Spencer with names such as arch-Islamophobe and hatemonger, claiming he had no authority to speak about Islam.
The Catholic diocese complied with these audacious demands and canceled the engagement without interest in pursuing Mr. Spencer’s point-of-view or the issue of free speech. Such submission through appeasement weakens the church.
I have always believed that my lack of progress toward activating the church with my message of the Coptic struggle was never solely due to my personal failing. The rescinding of Mr. Spencer’s invitation by the Bishop in reaction to pressure by Muslim activist, Abdul Cader Asmal, reaffirms my true belief that the real failure resides in the local church — its unwillingness to recognize the important role it could play in standing up for the very freedoms that afford religious practice.
Muslims in Egypt and other Islamic-majority countries attack Christians and their churches, oppressing them by serial acts of violence perpetrated in the name of Allah and Islam just because of their Christian faith. Church leaders in free nations must speak out in defense of their brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer persecution and are weakened by strong waves of Islamic attacks, powerless to help themselves under brutal regimes. In speaking out, we exercise the teachings of our Lord’s words.
We do not advocate holy war. Our adversaries do that. We only ask that church leaders who are bound up in fear, intimidation and lies as a result of false propaganda and inter-religious dialogue be given license to think critically, assess the origins of persecution forces around the world and judge accurately the reasons for Christian victimization. This license can come only from the official heads of church denominations in statements contradicting the disinformation campaign forced upon Christians and Jews in the West.
To make certain that each and every believer becomes aware, properly informed and conscious of the threat we face, the church must first create a new openness and interest in learning the truth from correct and trustworthy sources — without expurgation, mitigation, or political correctness. Every single Christian must comprehend the worldview held by the perpetrators of these unspeakable crimes against Christians and Jews around the world — before it is too late.
His Holiness, as we are certain of your wisdom and concern for our beloved church, Voice of the Copts kindly requests the Holy See to conduct an immediate investigation into the Diocese of Worcester to determine the reasons behind the Bishop’s behavior. Please attend also to other dioceses around the world likewise misled in their responses when confronting similar dilemmas — acting out contemporary portrayals of Judas who betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver.