Coupled with the absence of prosecution against those who burned down the church building, the ruling is clear evidence of persecution and a legal double standard between Christians and Muslims.
Tensions remain high in an Egyptian village where as many as 5,000 mostly Salafi Muslims went on a rampage over a false rumor that a church was holding a girl against her will in order to convert her back to Christianity.
The 14-year-old girl’s father, an ethnic Copt who converted to Islam, had stirred them up on the mistaken notions that his daughter had converted to Islam and that Christians had kidnapped her.
In the wake of what could be the worst act of violence against Egyptian Christians in modern history, leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church have called for three days of fasting and prayer for divine intervention, along with three days of mourning.
Enraged Muslims burned down several Christian-owned homes, surrounded a church and threatened to kill a priest last week in two unrelated incidents in Upper Egypt.
Salafis have made a series of attacks and threats against Coptic Christians since the fall of the Hosni Mubarak regime on Feb. 11.
Hundreds of Muslims, angered by the prospect of a government-closed church re-opening in their neighborhood, protested outside the church yesterday, causing the provisional military authority to back away from its promise to allow Orthodox clergy to reopen it.
Protestors started gathering on Thursday afternoon (May 19) outside the Church of the Virgin Mary and St. Abraam in Ain Shams, a poor section of northeastern Cairo. The church was scheduled to reopen that day, but protestors surrounded the building, preventing anyone from getting into it and trapping priests who were inside.
Hani Nazeer, a Coptic Christian blogger arrested in Egypt on false charges of insulting Islam, then held for almost two years without charge under the country’s Emergency Law, has been released from prison.
During his imprisonment, Nazeer said he was beaten, exposed to constant deprivation and was pressured to convert to Islam by violent criminals.
A Coptic Christian blogger in Egypt entering his second year of prison without charge is being pressured to convert to Islam in exchange for his freedom, his attorneys said.
On Oct. 3, 2008, Hani Nazeer, a 28-year-old high school social worker from Qena, Egypt and author of the blog “Karz El Hob” (“Love Cherries”), was arrested by Egypt’s State Security Investigations (SSI) and sent to Burj Al-Arab prison.
Although police never charged him with any crime, Nazeer has been detained for more than a year under Egypt’s administrative imprisonment law.
Male belly dancing, a centuries-old Egyptian tradition, is making a comeback — against the odds, considering its periodic suppression by government and religious officials. The problem for Mesbaah is that his craft has long been associated with homosexuality — a taboo in Egypt.
An Egyptian blogger went on trial Thursday on charges of insulting Islam and causing sectarian strife with his Internet writings. Egypt’s first prosecution of a blogger came as Washington has backed away from pressuring its Mideast ally to improve its human rights record and bring democratic reform.
CAIRO (Reuters) – A Cairo court on Thursday sentenced an Egyptian man to three years and three months in jail for leading an unorthodox sect and claiming divinity. But the man, trader Ahmed Ibrahim Abu Shousha, will serve only a three-month sentence, for possessing an offensive weapon, if he pays a fine of 5,000 pounds ($860), court officials said. Twelve of his followers, including three women, received one-year sentences on charges of “spreading ideas at variance with the Islamic religion”, including the views that ritual prayer is not necessary and that visiting tombs is preferable to the conventional Muslim pilgrimage