For the first time I’m aware of, a U.K. Member of Parliament says he intends to visit Egypt to see how the country’s Christian minority is being treated. Jeffrey Donaldson, MP for Lagan Valley, Northern Ireland, has already met with Egypt’s only Christian member of parliament to offer his support and help to “raise with the UK government the plight of the persecuted Church in Egypt.”
His letter arrived the same day an Egyptian judge sentenced 12 Coptic Christians to life in prison for their alleged part in a riot in which two Muslims and a Christian were killed in the village of Abu Qurgas. However eight Muslims charged with the same crimes in the same riot were all acquitted.
Jeffrey Donaldson also says he hopes the U.K. government will tighten up the lax controls on arms exports to Egypt and other regimes where such weapons may be used for internal repression. On 9 October last year 24 protesters, mostly Coptic Christians, were killed by the army and pro-regime thugs during a demonstration near Cairo’s main television building. Some protesters were run down by armoured personnel carriers and others shot soldiers allegedly using live ammunition. The army insists they only fired blank cartridges.
Christians in Egypt are very worried about the future and despite my only personal disagreement with some of the MP’s policies on domestic social issues, I think it’s great that he should go to such lengths to try to help even if he hasn’t yet specified the date of his intended visit – here is a copy of a recent letter I received from him in which he makes his views clear.