(Mr. SHIMKUS asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, we were all glued to our televisions and the Internet watching the Egyptian people, Christian and Muslim alike, demand free and fair elections for the first time.
The history of the Christian church in Egypt far exceeds that of Islam. Even now, Coptic Christians make up 10 percent of Egypt's population of 80 million people.
Unfortunately, some fringe groups of extremist Muslims took this opportunity to attack their fellow Egyptians simply because they are Christians in an attempt to drive them out of Egypt. In some cases, they were successful.
Our country was founded on the principles of religious freedom. As a Christian and a Member of the House of Representatives, I'm hopeful that this example of a broad range of beliefs of our 435 Members will stand as an example to the Egyptian people.
I would ask the Egyptian people and the current military leadership to stand with the Christian minority in Egypt and ensure their ability to freely practice their faith is not impugned by the current leadership or the one that may be elected in the future.
I will continue to keep the Coptic Christians in Egypt in my prayers, and I would ask my colleagues to do the same.
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