Egypt: Christians Accused of Contempt for Islam

Monday, July 20, 2015

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Three Christians in Egypt have been accused of showing contempt for Islam after evangelizing Muslims last weekend in the port city of Alexandria.

According to Morning Star News, the Christians were arrested for handing out bags of dried dates along with copies of the Sermon on the Mount and the name of an Arabic-language website about the Christian faith.

But the materials offended one Muslim who forcibly took one of the Christians to a police station where he supposedly said that if police didn't punish him, he would seek his own justice.

All three Christians were released on bond pending further investigation by the attorney general's office to either pursue, or drop the case.

Egypt's 2014 Constitution guarantees both religious freedom and freedom of expression, but it is often trumped by Article 98F. Although not a blasphemy statute, 98F prohibits acts that show contempt for "any of the heavenly religions or the sects belonging thereto."

Article 98F is punishable by imprisonment for not less than six months and not exceeding five years, or a fine of not less than 500 Egyptian pounds, but not exceeding 1,000 pounds.

Blasphemy cases against religious minorities have increased in Egypt after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was sworn into office in 2014.