Coptic Christian Arrested for Offending Islam

ICC Note: A Christian accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed on social media has been arrested in Upper Egypt. A mob, however, formed and attacked the homes of Christians in the village. It is common for Islamic extremists in Egypt to blame the entire Christian community for the perceived wrongs of one individual. Anything can be considered insulting to Islam or offensive to these extremists. In this case, police had arrested the Christian in the hopes of preventing a mob attack.   

07/11/2018 Egypt (Fides) –  A young Coptic Egyptian was arrested in the village of Menbal, in the province of Minya, on charges of having shared some videos considered offensive against Prophet Mohammad on social media. The arrest had been organized by local police forces, perhaps with the intention of calming down the tension and to avoid uncontrolled reactions by groups of Islamist mobs present in the area. But the measure was not enough to ensure calm: after the arrest, the houses of Christian families in the village were attacked by gangs (see photo) who wanted all the Christians of the village to “pay the price” of the alleged offenses of the young Copt toward the Prophet.

In 2016 (see Fides 8/3/2016) five Copt students were sentenced to five years in prison, accused of offending the Islamic religion by publishing in the Spring of 2015 a video-clip lasting a few seconds in which the boys mimed a throat slitting scene of a Muslim in prayer. In September of that same year (see Fides 9/9/2016) the five students were expatriated to Switzerland, where they applied for asylum. In the meantime, in June 2016 (see Fides 13/6/2018) the Egyptian government had rejected the proposals to cancel the law that punishes blasphemy, a penal provision also used in recent times to set up trials and impose penalties on controversial cases, which have divided national public opinion.

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