Following what many dubbed an epic battle for additional freedoms, free speech has been dealt a devastating blow in Egypt today. A court in the southern part of the country has sentenced a Coptic Christian teacher to six years in prison for posting on his Facebook page drawings that it ruled insulted Islam‘s Prophet Muhammad and comments deemed an affront to the country’s president.
The state news agency said the court decision Tuesday in Sohag province also finds Beshoi el-Behiri guilty of insulting the plaintiff. The court case predates the public anger that was triggered by an amateur movie produced by a Copt living in the United States that ridicules Muhammad as a womanizer, child molester and buffoon.
But sensitivities over the film have clearly hiked the tension around the court. The agency said scores of Islamists protesting outside the courtroom denounced the sentence as meager. El-Behiri had denied the charges, filed late July.
Read more here.
Islamist protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Egypt’s capital Tuesday, destroyed the American flag, and replaced it with a black Islamist flag to protest a U.S.-produced film depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Get that? They destroyed the U.S. flag and replaced it with a flag similar to the one used by Al-Qaeda — all on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
How did the U.S. embassy respond? By apologizing to the rioters for hurting “their religious feelings“:
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others
So, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, rioting Egyptians stormed the American embassy, destroyed our flag, and hoisted the Islamist flag — and the U.S. embassy apologizes for hurting their feelings?
If this shocks you, you are not alone. Many Americans expressed their outrage on Twitter and other social mediums.
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer was also disgusted by the embassy’s response.
“That statement is an embarrassment,” Krauthammer said during Tuesday‘s broadcast of Fox News’ “Special Report With Bret Baier.”
Read more here.
Coptic Christians in Egypt being crucified. Stories such as this are being called “lies”, videos of it occurring are being labeled “internet hoaxes”. With all the news available 24/7 at our fingertips, how is it that the truth is being stifled?
The above photo was taken in central Cairo on October 13, 2011. Nearly 3,000 Egyptian mourners gathered in honor of Coptic Christians who were among 25 people murdered during a demonstration over an attack on a church.
Those who don’t want to believe this is actually occurring in the 21 Century won’t. No matter how many pictures or videos make it out some people just will dismiss it all as Islamophobic lies.
I had no intention of covering this story this week, I’ve written about the murder of Coptic Christians before as well as those being murdered in other countries as well. Over two years ago in April 2010 my article “No Big Deal, Just Some People in Africa, Right?” was about the murder of Christians in Nigeria at the hands of Islamists.
This all started when someone posted a picture on my Facebook page.
I read the denials of the stories, pictures and videos of the Crucifixions of the Egyptian Coptic’s and decided to set the record straight.
One individual posted a comment under this picture on my Facebook page,
this isn’t in Egypt. stop telling lies about EGYPT. you jews will never remove hatred from your hearts to EGYPT
Read more here.
An Egyptian university student was fatally stabbed as his girlfriend looked on in horror after three suspected Islamic militants confronted the couple in a park and told them they should not be together if they are not married, security officials said Wednesday.
The murder is fueling fears that vigilante groups may be seeking to strictly enforce Islamic mores, emboldened by the election of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Moderate Muslims, Coptic Christians, and women‘s groups particularly worry that Morsi’s presidency will slowly eradicate Egypt’s entrenched secular traditions and change the social fabric of the mainly Muslim nation of 82 million people.
The student, 20-year-old Ahmed Hussein Eid, was attacked on June 25 in the Red Sea city of Suez while with his girlfriend in a park known for hosting romantic rendezvous, according to the officials. It was not immediately clear what the two were doing when challenged by the three bearded men who arrived on a motorbike, but it was clear the men did not approve.
Citing initial testimony of the girlfriend, officials said the men told the couple they must leave immediately and go their separate ways because they were not married. An argument followed, and one of the three men stabbed Eid in the upper left thigh near his genitals. He was hospitalized and died of his wounds on Monday, according to the security officials who asked to remain anonymous.
Read more here.
Nabil Gergis, a Coptic Christian, lived for nearly two decades in the Egyptian town of Amriya, raising his children and managing a modest business. Those ties couldn’t protect him after a sex video purportedly showing his brother with a Muslim woman began to circulate.
Angry residents in the conservative, Muslim-majority town held protests and set fire to the Gergis family businesses. None of the attackers was prosecuted. Instead, a committee of tribal elders, local lawmakers and security officials ordered the 11 members of the Gergis family — the brother, Nabil and others — to leave town.
The story of Amriya demonstrates one of the reasons Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority and even some in the Muslim majority feel the situation is precarious, particularly since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak a year ago. The rule of law, they and human rights groups say, is being eclipsed by such “reconciliation councils,” trying to fill the security vacuum left by Mubarak’s fall.
“There is no law that would have found me responsible for anything, and under the law I would have never been kicked out of my home,” said Nabil Gergis. He said he, his wife and their two children do not know who to turn to protect their rights and that he feels the government has turned its back on them.
Read more here.
Burned-out rubble is all that’s left of Christian shopkeeper Abskharon Suleiman’s appliance store in the northern Egyptian village of Sharbat. His home was destroyed as well as shops owned by his adult children – all targeted because they are Christians.
Ten-year-old Romany Rashed remembers being terrified during the attack. The fourth grader told the the Christian Science Monitor ’s Kristen Chick of fleeing to a room “where his family huddled together, afraid for their lives, as a violent mob attacked their house.
“His family had fled to this room on the top floor, where pictures of Jesus and Coptic saints hang on bare cement walls. His parents dragged heavy furniture to the door, barricading it as they heard people try to break in below. The mob was throwing rocks at the windows, and he heard gunfire, says Romany. They were cursing Christians.
“We kept praying that God would be with us,” the boy told the Monitor reporter. “And He was.”
As the mob set fire to the home of a Christian family across the street, Muslim neighbors saved Romany’s family, hustling them out of their house by a back entrance, into a car, and out of the village, until it was safe enough to return.
After his church was burned to the ground in a village nearby, a local clergyman was sentenced to six months in prison for rebuilding the church 7 feet taller than the building permit allowed. Incredibly, as he appeals the verdict, no legal action has been taken against those who burned he church or the Muslim imams who inflamed their passions at local mosques, inciting a mob of 3,000 to burn down the church building.
Read more here.