ICC Note: In yet another case demonstrating the shrinking space for dialogue in Egypt, five have been charged with blasphemy for a video mocking the jihadist group ISIS. The video that was never intended to be shared publicly has sparked outreach and now a teacher and students could face jail time if convicted.
05/07/2015 Egypt (Christian Post) Police in Egypt recently arrested five Coptic Christian children after angry Muslim mobs accused them of blasphemy for being featured in a circulated prayer video with their Coptic teacher that showed them making fun of the Islamic State terrorist organization.
In a report published Tuesday by Fox News on how Christians have become the target of Muslim extremists in the Minya Governorate in northern Egypt, it was reported that Muslim mobs in the village of Nasreya in Minya gathered around the residences of five Christian students and chanted that they had “insulted” Islam.
The angry Muslims claimed that the students and their Coptic teacher were guilty of blasphemy, which is a crime in Egypt, because their video mocked ISIS, a barbaric Islamic terrorist group that has claimed chunks of territory in Iraq and Syria and also has affiliate groups located in Egypt and Libya.
As the teacher was arrested and questioned by police over a four-day period, the mobs threw rocks at the homes of the students and demanded that their parents turn over the children to the local policing authority.
Mina Thabet, a Coptic activist, said that the children and teacher still remain in police detention, as well as other Christians who been victimized by Muslim attacks and accusations.
“We have five Coptic Christian children charged with blasphemy and insulting Islam,” Thabet explained. “We still have other open cases where Christians are charged with inciting violence as if they were the perpetrators, but where they were [actually] the victims.”
Todd Daniels, the Middle East regional manager for International Christian Concern, told The Christian Post on Wednesday that due to the corrupt nature of Egypt’s judicial system, the children could be sentenced to overly-long prison sentences.
“The case of the five arrested in Minya and charged with blasphemy represents yet another case of how Egypt continues to bend to the weight of extremist ideology,” Daniels wrote in an email. “A video – not even shared publicly – that mocked ISIS, a group that openly beheaded twenty Egyptian citizens, has already put these five in prison and may lead to lengthy prison sentences. Despite progress in terms of rhetoric from [Egyptian] President [Abdel Fattah el-Sisi], Egypt has pervasive persecution that continues to occur not only on the societal level but also in the judiciary.”