Coptic Church Urges Thorough Investigation In Murder of Jersey City Family

Thursday, January 20, 2005 the East Coast Coptic Orthodox Clergy met at the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, located in Cedar Grove, NJ and issued the following statement:

The Coptic Orthodox community is horrified and grieved by the recent brutal murder in Jersey City, NJ of a Coptic Orthodox Christian family. Hossam Armanious, 47, his wife Amal, 37, and their two daughters, Sylvia, 15, and Monica, 8, were found slain in their home on Friday, January 14, 2005. According to early reports, each one of the family members was found bound and gagged with their throats slashed.

The Armanious family was a devout, Christ-loving family, who followed the peaceful teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. They were active members in the parish community of St. George & St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church of Jersey City, and were loved by all in the church and in the community at large.

Since the discovery of the murdered family, there have been many rumors and speculations about possible motives circulating throughout the community and in the media. The Church trusts that the proper authorities will continue to conduct their investigation in a manner that is comprehensive and complete and which will result in justice.

The Coptic Orthodox community is concerned that this brutal killing may have been the result of a hate crime against a Coptic Christian family. Although the Coptic Orthodox Church does not condone jumping to any conclusions or singling out any one specific group until all the facts have been discovered, this crime has sparked an outpouring of emotion and resulted in unrest in our community. Fear and concern also resonate throughout many other communities of New Jersey since countless families, regardless of background, feel more vulnerable to crime in light of the Armanious family killing.

We urge the authorities to give this criminal investigation the highest priority and we pledge our complete cooperation in that regard. We expect the dedication of every necessary resource until the truth is established; the authorities bring the perpetrator(s) immediately to justice, bring closure to this heinous act and maintain peace and safety in our streets and homes. Anything less will be unjust and result in further unrest in the community.

The Church prays for the repose of the souls of the Armanious family, and for peace and unity in our communities and the whole world. We pray that the law enforcement officials apprehend the perpetrator(s) and quickly bring them to justice. We also pray for the perpetrator(s) that they may find repentance, and turn themselves in to the authorities in order to restore peace to all.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is an Apostolic Church founded by St. Mark the Evangelist (Gospel writer) in the first century A.D. in Alexandria, Egypt. The Coptic Orthodox Church is the original church of Alexandria and is one of the oldest Christian Orthodox churches. The Coptic Orthodox Church has been native to Egypt, the Middle East, and Africa until its first immigrants came to the United States and other countries and established churches beginning in the 1960ís. Currently, there are over 200 Coptic Orthodox Churches in North America.

For more information, please contact:
Fr. Antonious Tanious
(732) 947-0922