Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

Egyptian blogger Alber Saber’s arrest underlines differences on freedom of speech
ICC Note:
Alber Saber, a 27-year-old Coptic Christian arrested on suspicion of posting an anti-Islam film online, was tried in court Wednesday for blasphemy, or ‘insulting Islam’, The Washington Post reports. Activists say the man is innocent, but sensitivities in Egypt towards ‘offending Islam’ have escalated since the release of a US-produced anti-Islamic film that ignited violent protests in more than 20 countries. Saber’s arrest resurfaces concerns over freedom of expression under the new Islamist-dominated government in Egypt. While the country’s church leadership has strongly condemned the film, Christians are walking a tightrope and will continue to be prosecuted, or outright attacked, if something they say or do is deemed offensive to Muslims.
By William Booth
09/26/2012 Egypt (The Washington Post)- Egyptian blogger Alber Saber appeared in court here Wednesday, standing in a cage, pale and skinny, wearing jailhouse whites, his head shaved. He flashed a V for victory sign with his fingers to the spectators. His mother wept.
The 27-year-old computer science major from a Coptic Christian family, a few credits shy of his college degree, was arrested two weeks ago on charges of disdaining religion and ridiculing religious beliefs and rituals.
After a mob of his neighbors laid siege to his home, and after he was arrested by police, media reports suggested that Saber had posted a link to the infamous YouTube video “Innocence of Muslims” on Facebook.
The arrest points to stark differences in laws and attitudes regarding freedom of expression, especially as applied to religion, in the Middle East and the United States.
Saber’s lawyers deny that he had anything to do with the video, although they concede that he did ruminate on social media sites about the meaning of religion. Showing contempt toward what Egyptian statutes call the “heavenly” religions — Christianity, Islam and Judaism — is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The case is a rare example of Egypt’s laws being used against someone who allegedly insulted a religion other than Islam.
While Saber is incarcerated, Abdullah remains free before his hearing.
Religious leaders and conservative Islamist politicians in Egypt have called on the United Nations to find a way to criminalize contempt for religion. But liberal activists here say the blasphemy laws are so vague, and applied almost exclusively when people allegedly defame Islam, that they are nothing more than a political tool.
They cite as an example the well-known conservative Islamist and commentator Khaled Abdel Allah, who showed a clip of the “Innocence of Muslims” video on an Islamic satellite TV channel here but has not been arrested. His critics say it was his show that first brought attention to the video in Egypt and incited the violence.
“How do I know who the true God is?” Saber asks in video posted on a Facebook page, where he contends that conflict among the three major religions creates confusion.
[Full Story]