Egypt Christian Faces Prison Over Facebook comments

Thursday, November 26, 2020

By Stefan J. Bos l, Special Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) - A young Christian faces a lengthy prison term in Egypt for blasphemy after he was released on bail, Christians say.

Youssef Hany, 18, was detained on November 11 after posting comments on social media platform Facebook in which he allegedly insulted Islam.

The remarks had been made in a heated online exchange and, in the process, were widely shared by others, said Christians familiar with the case.

On November 14, a court in Ismailia ordered his release on bail after he “apologized” and stressed that he “respected Islam,” according to
trial observers.

An unnamed Muslim woman was reportedly detained over the online exchange for allegedly insulting Christianity. “Media attention, however, has centered on Youssef,” added Christian rights watchdog Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC), Christians said.

In response, the Coptic Orthodox Church publicly rejected “any religious insults.” Offending all religions “ is completely unacceptable,” a church spokesperson said, “since it causes disunity among people and in society as a whole.”

The tensions underscore broader unease between Muslims and minority Christians in this heavily Islamic country.

In Egyptian society, the majority of Islamic culture regards Christians as second-class citizens, said advocacy group Open Doors. “Religious freedom for Christians is not fully guaranteed, and the self-proclaimed Islamic State has vowed to wage war against Christians in Egypt,” it warned.

There are 101 million people living in Egypt and advocacy group Open Doors estimates the number of Christians to be around 16.3 million, about 16 percent of the population.