Canadian Coptic Christians Targeted By Al-Qaida

December 23, 2010 Updated: December 23, 2010

[xtypo_dropcap]C[/xtypo_dropcap]optic Christian Canadians are listed targets on an al-Qaida website raising fears they could become targets of terrorist attacks

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews condemned the threats on Tuesday.

“Threats of this kind against Canadians cannot and will not shake our resolve to respect and welcome people regardless of their religious beliefs,” he said in a statement.

“The right to practice one’s religion free from intimidation is one of the fundamental pillars of a free and open society. We stand in solidarity with those in Canada and around the world who wish to practice their religion free from tyranny, threats and violence. It is for that reason that Canada has welcomed many groups persecuted on the basis of their minority religion status.”

Liberal Public Safety Critic Mark Holland also slammed the listing.

“The list of Canadians targeted by Al-Qaida on this website is more than a threat to the safety and security of Canadians that should be taken very seriously by this government; it is an affront to the rights and values we all share and should be roundly condemned,” he said.

“For those Coptic Christians—and all Canadians—who have found in Canada a home free from religious persecution and threats of violence and intimidation, this list is a reminder that we must remain vigilant at all times to defend the rights of all Canadians to practice their faiths.”

Coptic Christians are part of a distinct branch of Christianity originating in Egypt and dating back to the first century AD.

The Shumukh-al-Islam website, which supports Osama bin Laden, claims Coptic Christians are trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Members of the listed group in Canada told reporters they are worried by the threats.