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EGYPT: Chance to Scrap Blasphemy Law

EGYPT: Chance to Scrap Blasphemy Law

Reformers are pushing for Egypt’s ‘blasphemy law’ to be scrapped, but government ministers are trying to block their efforts.

The law is almost always used to prosecute those who are seen to criticise Islam and is often misused to persecute minorities such as Christians.

The Ministry of Justice is strongly opposed to a repeal of Article 98F of the constitution, which it says helps stop the spread of “strife and division.”

Reformers allege that extremists are misusing the law to settle personal scores against Christians, and that judges and police are using it to persecute Christians in “show trials.”

Teacher Dimyana Abd al-Nour, 27, was sentenced to six months in prison in June 2014 for ‘blasphemy’ for comments she made in a history class. That same month, Kirollos Shawqi Attallah, 29, was given a six-year sentence for ‘liking’ a Facebook page for Christian converts.

By contrast, extremists who attack Christian communities accused of blasphemy and other religious-related offences are able to act with impunity. On 17 June, a violent mob of about 1,200 people attacked property belonging to Pastor Karas Nasr’s church in Qaryat Al Bayda village, south of Alexandria. Security forces were accused of letting the violence take place. They arrested six Christians on accusations of planning to illegally build a church.

Sources: Release International, Daily News Egypt, Morning Star News

Prayer Points

• Please pray for the repeal of Egypt’s blasphemy law, for the sake of religious tolerance and freedom.
• Pray for justice for Pastor Karas and his congregation. Pray God will protect them.
• Pray that President El Sisi and his government will uphold religious rights enshrined in the constitution.

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