Egyptian Court Upholds Death Sentences for Coptic Christians in Absentia (Poll)

Filed in Gather News Channel by on January 29, 2013 0 Comments

An Egyptian court has ruled that seven Coptic Christians who took part in the anti-Muslim YouTube video that was initially blamed for the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th be put to death. The ruling seems to be symbolic, as the low budget film’s participants are abroad.

When it comes to women and Christians, Egypt is not quite so harsh. Coptic Christians have been increasingly isolated and persecuted. As reported by the Christian Post, an “armed Islamic movement” called the “Brigade of Muslims” is asking Coptic Christians “to pay tribute”.

The radical group claims that they will “fight the Egyptian army and Interior Ministry if they do not stand up to ‘Copts and their helpers.'” The Christian minority in Egypt is increasingly isolated. Last month, tens of thousands of Coptic Christians took to the street to protest the government for failing to protect them. In a horrifying and little reported turn of events, the Christian protesters were attacked by civilians, and then the government responded – by “crushing protesters [with army personnel carriers], as soldiers fired on unarmed civilians,” as reported by the Washington Times.

As far as the plight of women in Egypt, according to Zee News, at least 25 women have been sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square during protests over President Morsi’s radical Muslim Brotherhood’s radical interpretation of Islam being imposed on Egyptians. The Egyptian Centre for Women”s Rights from 2008 gives a daunting statistic. In a report, they say that “83 percent of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment, and the problem is exacerbated by a failure to prosecute the perpetrators“. Clearly, the real “war on women” is in Egypt.

The seven convicted Coptic expatriates were identified by Ahram.org. They are Maurice Sadiq Gerges, founder of a US-based Coptic association; Morkos Aziz, a US-based television presenter; Fekry Abdul-Messih, a US-based doctor; Nabil Adib, media coordinator for another US-based association; Nahid Metwally, an Australia-based doctor; Egyptian-born Copt Mark Baccil Youssef (charged with producing the film); and Nader Farid, a commerce graduate.

The defendants were found guilty and initially sentenced to death in November for “harming national unity and insulting and publicly attacking Islam,” as reported by BusinessWeek. Controversial Pastor Terry Jones was sentenced to five years in prison, also in absentia (even though he was not associated with the video), according to a faxed statement from the Egyptian court in Cairo. Egypt seems to be coming undone, as the much-hailed “Arab Spring” has devolved into further unrest across the Middle East.

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