From Ben Johnson's blog WesternOrthodox.blogspot.com:
I recently received this in my e-mail. The man in the story was born a Coptic Christian in Egypt. However, he later joined St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Church in York, Pennsylvania. If the government has its way, he may be put to death.
At this moment, the United States is threatening to deport Mr. Sameh Khouzam back to Egypt at the request of the Egyptian government. Mr. Khouzam is a Coptic Christian currently held at the York County Prison in Pennsylvania charged with crimes against a Muslim family in Egypt.
Why does that matter?
First, to date, no one has presented one shred of credible or verifiable evidence to substantiate the charges against Mr. Khouzam.
Additionally, we are certain that if Sameh is deported he will face torture and probable death upon his return. The government of Egypt has a well-documented history of human rights abuses against its own citizens, particularly against religious minorities like Coptic Christians.
In other words, Mr. Khouzam is facing imminent torture and likely death simply because he is a Coptic Christian--a member of a religious minority in Egypt.
The Institute on Religion and Public Policy will not stand still and let this happen. But, we need your help!
To save Sameh from certain torture and death we need you to click here and sign our Petition to Save Sameh Khouzam immediately.
Sameh Khouzam left Egypt in 1998 under intense pressure to change his religion. He was detained by the Egyptian government and forcefully "encouraged" to convert from his Coptic Christianity to Islam. He escaped Egypt, however, and fled to America - fearing for his life. Afterward, the Egyptian government informed United States officials that Mr. Khouzam was wanted for completely unsubstantiated crimes against a Muslim family.
Mr. Khouzam has proven to be an upstanding member of his local community yet when he voluntarily reported to U.S. immigration authorities last month he was detained, imprisoned, and scheduled for deportation.
He is now set to be deported MONDAY, JUNE 18!
This travesty of justice condemns Sameh to certain torture and death upon his return to Egypteven though there is NO CONCRETE EVIDENCE he committed any crimes in Egypt.
I believe he is being persecuted because of his religious identity.
And the potential for violence against Sameh is real. In fact, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals found it is "more likely than not" he will be tortured upon his return to Egypt. Yet, for apparent political reasons, our government still intends to deport him.
That's why I am determined to act to right this terrible wrong.
The Institute on Religion and Public Policy is poised to IMMEDIATELY deliver your signed Petition to Save Sameh Khouzam to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
But there is no time to waste. Sameh is scheduled to be deported THIS MONDAY!
And the U.S. Government simply will not act unless confronted by an overwhelming outpouring of outrage from its citizens!
That's why I need you to click here and sign our Petition to Save Sameh Khouzam right now!
Your participation may help save Sameh's life. But I need you to do more than just sign the petition.
I need you to forward this urgent, life and death petition to as many of your family members, friends, co-workers, co-religionists and others as possible. At the very least, please take a moment and immediately forward this appeal to at least 5 others.
Your few seconds of effort can make all the difference in rescuing Mr. Sameh Khouzam from the likelihood of torture, and possibly, death.Please pass it on. I know the Pope recently condemned Amnesty International (belatedly, in my opinion) for its support of abortion. Perhaps he could steer his followers to support organizations such as the one that sent out this alert?
Labels: current events, Oriental Orthodox