Court in Egypt Sentences Young Christian for ‘Insulting Islam’

CAIRO, EGYPT (ANS) — Compass Direct News (CDN) says in a report that “in a show of partiality to Muslims who go unprosecuted for like offenses against Christianity, a juvenile court in Egypt on Wednesday (April 4) sentenced a Coptic Christian teenager to three years in prison for allegedly insulting Islam.”

CDN states that Gamal Abdou Massoud, 17, denies the charges.

Gamal Abdou Massoud

Gamal Abdou Massoud

“The court claimed that he posted cartoons on his Facebook account in December that mocked the Islamic religion and its prophet, Muhammad,” continued the CDN story. “The court also claimed that he distributed the pictures to other students. After the incident came to light, Muslims in Assuit, where Massoud lives, rioted. They fire-bombed his home and burned down at least five other Christian-owned homes in several Assuit villages. Massoud’s family left their village.”

Compass Direct News says that the “sentencing was considered significant” not only because violates the free speech clauses of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which Egypt is a signatory but also shows another area where justice is executed unequally between Muslims and Christians in Egypt.

“When Muslim public figures violate Egyptian laws related to insulting Christianity, which happens often, the laws are ignored, Coptic Christians said. But when Christians are accused of violating the same laws against Islam, they pointed out, even a minor is usually punished to the full extent of the law,” added the story.

The court also held Massoud responsible for inciting the riots. No one responsible for burning down any of the homes has been charged.
Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s 80 million population, have long had a difficult relationship with Egypt’s overwhelmingly Muslim majority.

Tension between Muslims and Christians has simmered for years but has got worse since the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Christians have become increasingly worried by a surge in attacks on churches, which they blame on hardline Islamists, though experts say local disputes are often also to blame.

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