Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Egypt’s “Contempt of Religion” Law Does Not Apply to Christians

From Christian Freedom International:

Egypt’s “Contempt of Religion” Law Does Not Apply to Christians

By  on January 23, 2012
Egypt’s “Contempt of Religion” Law Does Not Apply to Christians
As Islamic blasphemy cases pile up in Egypt’s court system, frustrated Coptic Christians are accusing authorities of not applying fair standards in the interpretation of the country’s contempt of religion law.
Christian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, an influential businessman and founder of the Free Egyptians Party, tops the growing list of perpetrators who have been charged with defamation of Islam in recent weeks. Sawiris was charged with the crime after making an offensive post to his Twitter account, which contained a picture of Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in Islamic garb and the caption “Mickey and Minnie after.” Sawiris’ case, which was initially heard in a misdemeanor court in Cairo on January 14, has been adjourned until February 11.
Seventeen-year-old Gamal Masood and 23-year-old Ayman Youssef Mansour, two Christian youth, were also charged with blasphemy after controversial posts were seen on their Facebook accounts. Despite Masood’s denial of the charge, local Muslims spent days in violent protests of the alleged act and subsequently burned down the boy’s home. Masood has been detained until his February 7 trial; Mansour is already serving a three-year prison term.
Egyptian law defines contempt of religion as exploitation “in order to promote extremist ideologies by word of mouth, in writing or in any other manner, with a view to stirring up sedition, disparaging or holding in contempt any divine religion or its adherents, or endangering national unity,” and that violators “shall be punished with imprisonment for between six months and five years or a fine of at least 500 Egyptian pounds.” But despite the consistent defamation of Christianity by prominent Muslims — which has included calling Christians “infidels” and “criminals” and the Bible as “fake” and “Greek mythology” — complaints filed by Christians against Muslims for these offenses in accordance with the contempt of religion law have come to no avail.
“Copts have received a barrage of insults to their faith and their symbols and have had churches torched and destroyed, and no one has done anything about it. The law of contempt of religion is applied solely to punish the Copts,” says Dr. Naguib Gobrail, president of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations.
CFI encourages everyone to pray for political stability and justice in Egypt, and that Egyptian Christians would be granted equal and fair rights.

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