U.S. Coptic Christians Protest Egypt's Persecution

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Tuesday marked Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's first visit to the U.S. in more than five years.

The leader stayed away after a falling out with former President George W. Bush over Egyptian human rights issues, but that topic is not going away.

While Mubarak and President Barack Obama met at the White House, Egyptian Christians were outside protesting the persecution of the Egyptian church.

Coptic Christians in Egypt have faced harsh treatment by Muslims and Mubarak's own government.

Click play for more analysis with CBN News International Correspondent Gary Lane.

Egyptian Christians want the White House to pressure Cairo to stop the attacks, prosecute anti-Christian violence by Muslims and stop the abduction, rape and forced Islamization of Coptic teenage girls.

During Mubarak 28-year rule, there have been thousands of violent attacks against the Egyptian Christians.

"The Coptic people are the indigenous people of Egypt and unfortunately they're underrepresented in the government and on a regular basis persecuted by Islamic extremists," explained Caroline Doss of the International Coptic Federation. "And that persuction is tolerated by the government."

Egypt's Christians cannot build churches without government permission and Muslims face persecution if they convert to Christianity.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's Dwight Bashir also told CBN News anti-Christian violence has increased.

"We've seen an upsurge in recent weeks and months unfortunately," he said.

The State Department says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked with Mubarak about  "human rights and democracy in Egypt."

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Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.