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Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Page: 2924

Mr CRAIG KELLY (1:57 PM) —The Coptic people make up a valued and active part of the community in my electorate of Hughes. Three Coptic parishes surround the boundaries of the Hughes electorate, and we are privileged to have St Marks Coptic College in the suburb of Wattle Grove.

On their own initiative, the Coptic people in and around Sydney have worked hard to put together a petition, and have gathered over 1,300 signatures. Unfortunately, the petition does not meet the criteria necessary for it to be tabled as a petition, but I am advised I can seek leave to table it as a document. Their petition seeks to draw attention to the serious human rights violations against the Coptic people—a recent example being the New Year bombing at Alexandria’s ‘Saints’ church which claimed at least 24 Christian lives—and to request the Australian government to ask the Egyptian government: (1) to set up an independent inquiry to investigate the atrocities committed against the Coptic people, and the perpetrators of these atrocities; (2) to implement laws to prevent violence against Copts; (3) to implement laws that afford equal rights for Egypt’s Coptic people to those of Egypt’s Muslim community; and (4) to abolish any existing laws that discriminate against Christians in Egypt. I therefore seek leave to table this document.

Leave granted.