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Islamist judges and blasphemy charges, new weapons against Christians



Cairo, 18 May 2013: Judges affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist imams are jeopardising the safety and survival of Egypt's Coptic Christians, sources, anonymous for security reasons, told AsiaNews. Backed by controversial Attorney General Talaat Abdhallah, more and more judges are in fact accepting allegations of blasphemy and insults to religion.

"The presence of radical imams in mosques in Upper Egypt villages is another problem," one source said. "They incite the largely illiterate population against Christians."

Minority Copts have in fact become the victims of assault, arsons and bombings on a daily basis. The latest case occurred on Wednesday in a village in Minya District (Upper Egypt) where a mob of more than 2,000 Muslims attacked Coptic-owned shops and homes and tried to burn down the local church, which is dedicated to St Theodore Coptic.

"Copts have lived with these problems for years," the source added, "which are often resolved through the intervention of religious authorities, and reconciliation. However, the rising number of complaints about blasphemy or proselytising is a reason of concern. In fact, judges once were reluctant to deal with such complaints out of fear that they might spark sectarian violence, now blasphemy charges are one of the easiest ways to attack the Christian minority thanks to the support of Islamist officials."
In recent weeks, the case of Dimyana Ubeid Abdel al-Nour become front-page news. The 23-year-old Christian teacher at a primary school in Luxor was arrested on 8 May for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad in class.

Faced with a large number of calls for her release, Prosecutor General Abdhallah freed her on bail (US$ 2,900), a huge sum for the young woman's family. Yet, Dimyana is still in prison where she began a hunger strike ahead of her trial on 21 May.

Source: AsiaNews




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