Peter Khalil: I am a Copt, a migrant from Egypt. The Copts in Egypt today are under siege and are attacked relentlessly by Islamic State. So I have a question for the coalition government and Minister Dutton: why is he forcibly sending back 20 Coptic families, asylum seekers, back to Egypt when the whole world can see that Islamic State and their affiliates have made the Copts their primary target over the past 12 months? Time and time again, horrific terrorist attacks have been inflicted on the Copts. A suicide bombing at a Cairo church during Christmas killed 29 people. The entire Coptic population had to flee en masse from the Sinai town of el Arish in February. Two suicide bombings during Palm Sunday services killed 46 people. And just this past weekend, a busload of Copts, mostly children, were attacked by Islamic State gunmen and shot at point-blank range while they were driving to St Samuel’s Monastery.
The Turnbull government has callously and cruelly turned a blind eye to the plight of Coptic Christians. Worse; they are forcing Coptic families who have come to Australia seeking protection back into harm’s way. These families have been told that their applications ‘do not meet the minister’s guidelines’.
I have kept quiet about this until now, because I wanted to give the government every chance to do the right thing, and I did not want to prejudice these cases. But now is the time to speak. Minister Dutton, do the right thing. Reconsider the cases of these families that have fled terror and have sought asylum in Australia.