Christians in Egypt are "unprotected" and "easy targets" as the country remains in conflict amid its efforts to move toward democracy after the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, Sen. Bob Corker says.
Corker has joined with fellow Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Roy Blunt of Missouri to ask President Barack Obama to provide security to Christians in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.
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"They are basically unprotected. They are viewed to be part of the overthrow, if you will, of Morsi. So, you know, they are easy targets," the Tennessee Republican and Senate Foreign Relations Committee member told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday.
"They're going to be moving forward, hopefully, toward a democracy. And, as that is occurring, we just want to make sure Christians and other minorities are protected," Corker said.
"What we are seeing is the security apparatus there is not protecting them. There are investigations that need to occur," Corker said.
"As we move through with our relationship with Egypt, we need to make sure protecting minorities, protecting Coptic Christians there, and in other countries where similar kinds of situations are occurring, is a part of our foreign policy," he added.
There are an estimated 8 to 9 million Copts, a Christian denomination that originated in the port city of Alexandria, living in Egypt. In the past four days there have been attacks against 38 churches, 58 Coptic-owned houses, and 85 businesses, says Fox News
The problems are not limited to Egypt, and reports of violence extend elsewhere in the region, Corker noted
"We've had issues of Christians being violated in Iraq. Obviously, in Syria," Corker said. "It's a trend that's taking place throughout the region. It's something that the three of us have been focused on. And, we want the State Department to be focused on it more fully," he said.
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