Life Imprisonment for Burning Egyptian Church
09/29/2018 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Abdel-Hady Rabie was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for burning a church in a Giza village in 2013. In Egypt, a life sentence is equal to twenty-five years. Rabie was also charged with killing eleven police officers.
This church was burned as part of a rampage by the Muslim Brotherhood, who had just lost control of the government to the military. Over a hundred Christian homes and establishments were burned by the Brotherhood in retaliation. Muslim Brotherhood supporters blamed Christians for former president Mohamed Morsi’s ousting. He was replaced by the current president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Rabie’s sentence is better understood as part of Egypt’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood rather than a protection of Christians. This September, over 700 people were tried over their connections in 2013 to the Muslim Brotherhood, sixty-six of whom received life imprisonment. Egypt has issued an asset freeze on over 1,000 charities tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Meanwhile in Minya, where attacks against churches are almost a weekly occurrence, those who participated in the attacks often walk away with no repercussions. Instead, the authorities allow mob attack participants to operate outside of the law and further victimize Christians through reconciliation sessions.
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