TEL AVIV – Jewish American leaders on Friday slammed the murder of at least 28 Egyptian Christians by masked Islamists south of Cairo.
“These brutal acts are criminal and must be stopped,” Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said. “The Conference stands in solidarity with the government of Egypt, the Egyptian people and in particular the members of the Coptic community, during this difficult time.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said that leaders in the region need to make a better effort to protect their religious minorities.
“The continual singling out of the Coptic Christian community in this brutal manner should make certain that leaders across the Middle East and North Africa take tangible steps to protect their religious minorities. Regretfully, all too often, that has not happened,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO. “We stand in solidarity with Egypt’s Coptic Christian community as they cope with this unthinkable attack, and continue to be deeply concerned about the persecution of Copts, other Christian communities and religious minorities across the Middle East. As we have seen in the past, ignoring these atrocities will only encourage more such outrages.”
The American Jewish Committee called on Arab governments to combat Islamic fundamentalism.
“Victory over the terrorists depends, above all, on what Arab and Muslim nations do to counter and defeat this violent, deadly scourge,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “In that regard, we have confidence that the Egyptian government understands the need and will step up still more its counter-terrorism and other requisite strategies to ensure that Copts, like all Egyptians, can practice their faith without fear.”
Israel also condemned the attack. “Terror will be defeated more quickly if all countries work together against it,” a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.
President Donald Trump slammed the “depraved, twisted and thuggish ideology” of terrorists.
“This merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt tears at our hearts and grieves our souls,” he said. “The bloodletting of Christians must end, and all who aid their killers must be punished.”
In the aftermath of the attack, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi retaliated by sending warplanes to strike “terrorist training camps” in neighboring Libya.
“Egypt will not hesitate at all to strike terrorist camps anywhere,” Sisi said in a televised address. “I say again, any camps being currently used to train terrorists, Egypt will strike. This message is clear.”