Slaying of New Jersey Coptic Family


Posted Mar 5, 2005      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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(TOTOWA, NJ, 3/4/05) - The New Jersey office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today applauded the arrest of two suspects in the case of an Arab-American Christian family murdered earlier this year in Jersey City.

The bodies of Hossam Armanious, 47, his wife, Amal Garas, 37, and their two children, Monica, 8, and Sylvia, 15, were found in their home in January. The victims, Coptic Christians from Egypt, died of multiple stab wounds.

The upstairs neighbor of the family and another man were charged today.  Edward McDonald, 25, pleaded not guilty to four counts of felony murder.  Hamilton Sanchez, 30, faces similar charges and also pleaded not guilty.

Two charged in slaying of N.J. family,0,7361248.story

The case caused religious tension resulting from unsubstantiated claims that the murders were perpetrated by Muslims motivated by anti-Christian bias. Investigators now tell CAIR-NJ that the alleged motive was robbery, not religious hatred.

“All those involved in the investigation of this brutal crime deserve praise for their diligence and for resisting efforts by hate-mongers from outside our state to use the tragedy as a way to damage interfaith relations,” said CAIR-NJ President Magdy Mahmoud. Mahmoud said he hopes the arrests will bring closure to this disturbing case.

At the time of the murders, CAIR-NJ offered condolences to the loved ones of the family and to the local Egyptian Coptic community. The Muslim civil rights and advocacy group also asked that the possible bias motive be thoroughly investigated and held a news conference to call for interfaith solidarity.

Previously this terrible murder had threatened to lead to violence between the Coptic and Muslim communities.  Public opinion seemed to be that the killers must have been Muslims.  The local Coptic leaders did not show up for an interfaith unity event called for by the Muslim community.  Messageboards on the internet were filled with violent anti-Muslim comments and threats.  (see a collection of some of these posts at the bottom of this article.)

On Wednesday, 19 January 2005, the U.S. Copts Association even sent out the following press release:

PRESS RELEASE                                            

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               PHONE: 202.737.3660

Washington, D.C. (1/16/05)—The U.S. Copts Association expresses its outrage, shock, and disbelief at the atrocious murder of a Coptic-American couple and their two children in their New Jersey home after father Hossam Armanious expressed “strong Coptic beliefs” to Muslim extremists on an internet discussion forum.

Armanious, a resident of heavily Coptic-populated Jersey City, was a frequent contributor to religious debates in chat rooms accessed through The 47-year old Egyptian immigrant was known as an opinionated online defender of both his Christian faith and Egypt’s persecuted Coptic minority. Authorities suspect the Armanious family’s brutal slaying is linked to Armanious’ vehement web postings defending Copts against militant Islam and rousing the ire of the internet forum’s Muslim fundamentalist participants. A Muslim poster threatened Armanious with retaliation, warning, “We will hunt you down…and kill you.”

Armanious, his wife Amal, and their fifteen- and eight-year old daughters Sylvia and Monica were found bound, gagged, and stabbed to death in their Jersey City home on Friday, January 14. All four victim’s throats had been slashed. Teenager Sylvia Armanious, an outspoken defender of Copts’ religious freedom, sustained the most severe wounds, with slash marks on her throat, chest, and cross-tattooed wrist. Investigators point to the slashing of the teen’s cross and the vicious nature of the slayings as indicators of a hate crime.

“Muslim extremists’ gruesome slaying of an innocent Coptic family is not only appalling, but disturbing in its implications for the Coptic-American community,” said Michael Meunier, president of the U.S. Copts Association. “Since Egypt’s exponential increase in anti-Coptic hate crimes, Copts have fled to the U.S. seeking religious liberty and freedom from persecution. That such deadly prejudice has followed Coptic immigrants out of Egypt is deeply alarming, and must serve as a warning to U.S. officials in their campaign against terrorism. The Armanious family members are modern-day martyrs in Islamic fundamentalists’ war on Christianity and the freedom it advocates. Al-Qaeda is not only in the Middle East but in New Jersey and we call on the FBI to hunt down the killers and bring them to justice.”


The U.S. Copts Association, founded in 1996 and based in Washington D.C., advocates for democracy, religious freedom, and human rights in Egypt. The Association represents over 700,000 Egyptian Christians in the United States.

Now that two men named McDonald and Sanchez have been charged with the murders, their religious affiliation is not mentioned, and the family that was killed is now simply called “a NJ family”.  The title of the news story mentioned in the CAIR press release above was simply   “Two charged in slaying of N.J. family.”  I can’t help but wonder what the headline would have read if the criminals had turned out to be Muslims.

In the same news story there is a one sentence statement:  “Everybody is relieved that there is no religious implication behind it,” said Maged Riad, a spokesman for the worldwide head of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenouda.   I would hope that from this terrible incident we might all learn something and that serious interfaith dialogue can take place between these communities.

4-14-05 update

Even after the capture of the murder suspects tensions continue between the two communities, and they are even refusing t meet with each other to resolve differences.

Time for Copts and Muslims to Mend Differences 

Making America Secure the Wrong Way

Muslims, Copts Reject Talks to Ease Tensions

Muslims, Christians Won’t Go to Meeting  and

Tensions Linger Despite Capture of Murder Suspects

4-21 update

Christians and Muslims Pledge Peace—familyslain0420apr20,0,6423855.story

Religious Leaders Vow Healing

For more background on this story see the following articles:

Coptic family slain   (includes comments from readers) 

Fight erupts at funeral 

Mourners fight at NJ funeral

Muslim Christian tensions boil over in NJ

Who killed the family, robbers or Islamists? (with lots of hate filled posts)

An Islamic murder of Coptic Christians?

New Jersey killings spark new anti-Muslim bias

Coptic leaders no shows at unity meeting 



Here are some of the posts on messageboards:

On Free Republic at

If the perpetrators of this crime are not apprehended, we are well on our way to seeing our ‘free speech’ guarantees replaced by Sharia. This is an appalling crime and the whole ‘there are no suspects’ thing smacks of indifference or fear on the part of law enforcement.

Folks, things are gonna get REAL ugly if the cops don’t open their eyes. The muzzies are going to think they can do as they please here (after all, we’re all just dhimmi, and they’re “the master race” (so to speak)), and with the PC compliance of our politicians (of BOTH parties….and don’t forget, it WAS GW who first started that “religion of peace” gas while the wreckage of the WTC was still smoking), more Christians and more Jews will be murdered, and all in the name of the pedophile false prophet.  Better stock up on ammo folks. This is gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets any better.

Well, I’m offended by the Muslim community that refuses to condemn such acts of violence. I’m offended by the Muslim community that tolerates the teaching of religious violence, anti-Semitism, anti-Christian bigotry and anti-Americanism in its religious schools. More than that, I am offended by the liberals in our culture who refuse to recognize this violent cancer in our midst that is literally killing us one person, one family and 3,000 persons at a time. I am offended by those who refuse to recognize evil, and demand tolerance from everyone but those who cut off people’s heads and fly planes into buildings. I am offended by those who blame the victims and celebrate the predators out of their own cowardice.

On Christian Forums at

These extremist Muslim arabs are the greatest losers ever! They can’t take being offended in the least bit. Their only solution is murder. Murder of those who oppose them. Pure cowardice!  I’m really offended by their reaction and heartless slaughter of this family! May God be with this family and all those who knew them. 

That truly is terrible, Islam is a religion of peace yeah right!


The NY Post story says that the older daughter was devoutly religious and outspoken.  It also says that she was stabbed in the wrist, where she had a tattoo of a Coptic cross. I guess we can draw our own conclusions from that.

“Killing an entire family for their opinions? America has been blessedly free of this type of sectarian madness.” Really? Tell that to the ghosts of the families killed by Jos. Smith and the Mormons. “No longer apparently.” Not since we let Arab Muslims in, you mean. Had there been an internet in the 1840s, worse would have been said of the Irish.  “I wonder how much it will take before the truth becomes evident to people?” “Truth”? Raping blacks, thieving jews, superstitious papists, drunken indians, dirty japs. Bigotry gives “truth” an ugly sheen.

By the way, I’ve learned some very interesting information today about the Jersey murders. The story is not mine to break, so I can’t say more, but let me tell you that there is a lot more to the possible Islamic radical connection to these deaths than has been made public. Yet. This information that I’ve learned does not convince me that this was a hit job, but I’m leaning a lot more in that direction than I was this morning. I’m not sure where this story is likely to break, but if and when it does, I’ll be sure to send Amy a link so she can post it. I spoke today to a professional who is in the underground of Christian converts from Islam, and who has ties to the Middle Eastern Christian community in Jersey and elsewhere on the East Coast. That’s where my information is coming from.

From the Extreme Catholic website at 

No one believes this was a simple robbery, given the methods of the murder and the apparent lack of a search in the house for valuables or cash.  I pray for the family, the Christian Coptic community, and that our country doesn’t become a place where small-scale Islamic terrorism like this becomes commonplace.  Should it be proven in the course of the police/terrorism investigation that they were killed by Muslims for Hossam Armanious’ advocacy of the Coptic faith, they may be martyrs for the Christian faith.

Yes, I read and re-read the news stories of the murdered family. This seems to be a story which is ( is being kept ? ) below ” the radar screen”, so that it does not receive national attention. I noticed that the news stories are now saying that robbery cannot be ruled out as a motive. Yet the viciousness of the murders would seem to rule out a simple robbery gone wrong. I think robbers-turned-inadvertently-murderous would just “plug” their victims with a gunshot. The sadistic nature of the crimes points to a religious motivation. People have already died for their opinions on Islam and its violent, backward nature - the Dutch film maker, Theo Van Gogh, comes immediately to mind. More than just killed, he was subjected to an outrageous and very public slaughter in broad daylight very recently. 

In my opinion, the Copts were murdered out of religious hatred, and the news media and public officials are going out of their way so as not to offend “you-know-who”.

The calculus is for how many Christians, Jews, Secualarists, etc. do we have accomplish the intimidation of them and suppression of the defense of their religious and speech rights vs. killing too many, too fast, too savagely and thereby triggering a reaction the will bring down real scrutiny of the threat radical Islam poses to the Christians, Jews, Secularists, etc. of America.


The peoples who did this are cleary psyhopathic living in a delusional fantasy world enitrely placated by Islamic frenzy and the premise of paradise.  Islam with its intolerance and absence of compassion for non-muslims is a magnet for psychopaths and people with mental health problems. There have been numerous examples of converts to Islam in the west, all it seems triggered by some form of mental strife…

How many more ‘honor’ killings must US society tolerate before we publicly acknowledge the intolerance of islam? These murders resulted from a chat room discussion, ferchrissakes. A discussion between an Egyptian Copt and muslims. No longer do our emigrees, particularly muslims, leave their baggage behind, but drag it with them onto our shores, forcing us to deal with their backwardness and barbarity over minor things like verbal criticisms. Enough is enough. The US does not need muslim immigrants. We need to allow in the oppressed by islam, like this family, not the homicidal followers of islam itself. Or are all cultures equal in your eyes?

This is not a law enforcement issue. Bush and friends should forget about their wasteful, overpriced upcoming party and address this. Why is the government who is assigned to defend its citizens so lax about these bastards?  I can’t wait for the CAIR puke wagon to answer for this. This column should be on every news organization and website possible. This is not Allah’s land. It’s time these bottom feeders learn this. If violence is necessary, then so be it. No tolerance for the intolerant, do you understand Mr. Awad? Mr. Hooper, how about you?  Bearded racists rodents. This is on American soil, and since it is, Muslims should be profiled, without execption. If they wish to die for their phony higher spirit, then leave them in the streets.

This is an outrage and Islam must be stopped. The moslems have a one track mind thatis to overcome America and make it all moslems territory. I WILL NEVER REVERT TO ISLAM. This is sad that this family was tricked into believing this moslem family wanted to convert to Christianity and then killed them. What has this world come to?
Honor killings in the name of Islams Allah, and so much more, our soldiers being beheaded and have in shown live on AlJazera television. I think this is a load of BS and it must be stopped as Americans it is our right to step up and do our job to defend OUR COUNTRY. Send the moslems back to the middle east where they belong. All this killing and hate from the moslems is just plain old and I am sick and tired of it THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PEaCEFULL MOSLEM I have yet to meet one.