Christian teacher in Egypt charged with insulting Islam after posting comments on Facebook

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

(Worthy News) -A Christian teacher in Egypt reportedly faces charges of defaming Islam because of comments he made in response to a Facebook post earlier this month, Morning Star News reports. Youssef Hany from the city of Ismailia is understood to have been arrested on November 11 and charged under Article 98(f) of Egypt’s penal code, which prohibits insulting Islam, Christianity, or Judaism - religions described by the law as “heavenly.”

Together with a Muslim woman identified by her social media name Sandosa, Hany was charged after replying to a Facebook post from a Muslim opposed to criticisms of Islam made by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Charged under a law that provides for a minimum of six months in jail, Hany and Sandosa face sentences of up to five years imprisonment and a fine of between US$30 to US$60. The two were reportedly released on bail on November 14, Morning Star News said.

Although the law is supposed to protect Christianity as well, it is used almost exclusively to silence criticism of Islam - even though Christianity is often publicly criticized, Morning Star News said.

It is also unclear which sorts of words or actions might result in arrest and charges being brought. Makarios Lahz, director of the Minority and Religious Groups Department of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, has stated that the law “does not clearly and expressly define contempt of or defamation [of religion] and leaves the notion loose and unreliable,” Morning Star News reports.