Monday, February 07, 2005
Jersey City -- Monir A. Dawoud, M.D., acting president of the 31 year old American Coptic Association, is urging officials investigating the Jersey City murders to call in the hate crime unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Yesterday, a web site was named that tracks and reveals identifying information of Christian users of Pal Talk, active in religious discussions. In some cases their photos were also posted.
Five law enforcement agencies have been investigating this case; The Hudson County Prosecutor's Office, The Jersey City Police, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, The Immigration and Naturalization Service, and The Federal Office of Immigration and Customs. According to an FBI spokesperson the Federal authorities were called in under the doctrine of "domestic police cooperation". The lead on the case is the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office.
"Adding the FBI Hate Crimes Unit to the investigation would make us feel that nothing was being overlooked," said Dr. Dawoud.
It's been three weeks since the Armanious family was killed in their home; and no leads have been reported in the case. The family was Egyptian born Christians, known as Copts. Mr. Armanious was fervent in his religious beliefs, and it was reported that he spent time in internet chat rooms promoting Christianity, proselytizing, and publicizing the discrimination and persecution Christians suffer in Egypt.
"We have faith in the American system of justice, but the initial conflicting reports and the lack of progress have caused fear to overtake our community. Children are afraid to sleep alone. People are installing double locks on their doors, bars on their windows and sophisticated alarm systems.
The discovery of a web site where Christians had their identities revealed, and were targeted for voicing their religious beliefs makes us, as Christians, fear for our safety, and contributes to the speculation that this was a hate crime."