I send my best wishes for a peaceful and blessed celebration to the millions of Coptic Christians in the United States and around the world observing Global Coptic Day.
Last year marked the first annual Global Coptic Day—an opportunity for the world to mark the contributions, legacy, and ongoing challenges facing the largest Christian group in the Middle East. This year, as we celebrate the second annual Global Coptic Day, we recognize the vital role faith, prayer, and service have in our lives, especially as we continue to face the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic. We join with people of faith from every corner of the world in asking God to place his healing hand on those fighting the virus and to comfort those who are mourning the loss of a friend or a loved one.
Today is also a time for us to acknowledge the importance of religious freedom and reaffirm our commitment to promoting and defending this core tenet of a free society. Tragically, far too many people the world over face persecution on account of their faith. In September of 2019, during a speech at the United Nations, I called on world leaders to take action to put an end to all attacks by state and non‑state actors against citizens for simply worshipping according to their beliefs. I challenged them to work to prevent threats and acts of violence against our sacred places of worship. No one should fear for their safety in a house of worship anywhere in the world.
At my direction, the State Department convened its second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom last summer, where diplomats and stakeholders from government and civil society, as well as religious leaders, engaged and identified tangible and meaningful ways to eliminate religious persecution and discrimination around the world and secure greater respect for freedom of religion and belief for all. We must ensure that we are using every tool at our disposal to ensure that every man, woman, and child feels safe and secure to worship according to their conscience and beliefs—no matter where they live.
I hope today’s observance is filled with prayer and joy, and provides those celebrating with a renewed sense of purpose and faith. May God bless each of you.