An Egyptian court has sentenced a Coptic Christian to three years in prison after he was found guilty of “insulting Islam in the first degree”.
Abdo Adel Bebawy, 43, was accused in July of publishing a post on his Facebook page that insulted Islam. In his post, Adel had compared Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, with Jesus.
At the time of his original post, friends explained that Abdo was not very literate and did not fully understand what he had posted. Following his arrest, a mob attacked houses owned by Copts and the situation has remained tense ever since.
While the sentence is for three years, many in the community believe the harsh ruling is to prevent more mob violence. A lawyer familiar with the case anticipates that the sentence may be overturned or reduced on appeal. This appeal is expected to be heard in late December.
Sources: International Christian Concern, World Watch Monitor
Remember Abdo in your prayers as he now faces this sentence. Ask the Lord to strengthen and comfort him.
Commit to the Lord Abdo’s legal representatives; pray that the appeal will be successful.
May the courts and leaders of the country seek to provide safety and equality for all citizens, regardless of their religion.
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Thank God for Abraham’s release and pray for his family.
On 7 May, the Tangerang District Court in Indonesia sentenced Reverend Abraham Ben Moses to four years in prison and issued him a 50 million Rupiah fine (4,750 AUD) for religious defamation.
If he cannot afford to pay the fine, “it can be replaced with a one-month prison term and we also give the defendant a chance to refuse the verdict seven days from tomorrow to appeal to the High Court,” said presiding judge Muhammad Damis at the hearing.
Abraham Ben Moses, also known as Saifuddin Ibrahim, is a well-known former Muslim and Christian apologist in Indonesia. He was active in Internet evangelism and debates with Muslim groups.
Abraham, 53, was arrested on 5 December 2017, after a video showing him sharing his faith with a Muslim taxi driver was widely circulated. In the video, he can be heard speaking with the taxi driver about the Prophet Mohammad’s teachings on marriage. He can also be heard asking the driver to convert
Members of Indonesia’s second largest Islamic organisation, Muhammadiyah, immediately lodged a complaint against him on 8 December.
According to Jakarta Post, Damis said that “Abraham was convicted under Electronic and Information Transactions Law No. 11/2008 as he intentionally spread information intended to incite hatred against an individual, group and society based on religion
Although the verdict was more lenient than the prosecutors’ demand of a five-year prison term, Abraham’s legal team plans to file for an appeal.
A Muhammadiyah official Pedri Kasman admitted that he was content about the verdict. “This decision should be appreciated and should serve as a valuable lesson for all parties,” he said.
In a message to Indonesian Christians, Abraham’s wife Ayu asked Christians to “pray for pastor Abraham’s punishment to be lighter.” Ayu, was pregnant when he was arrested, and she gave birth to their daughter while her husband remained imprisoned. Abraham also has four adult children from his first marriage.
Sources: International Christian Concern, The Voice of the Martyrs USA
Thank the Lord for Abraham’s strong faith. Pray he will continue to look to God with trust and courage.
Commit to the Lord Abraham’s family. May they be surrounded by Christian family ready to love and support them at this difficult time.
Pay along with Abraham’s wife Ayu – that the appeal with ensure a lighter sentence.