JNS.org – An Egyptian court has sentenced a Coptic Christian man to six years in jail for “insulting Islam,” in the latest blasphemy case targeting Egyptian Christians.
Kirollos Shawki, 29, was convicted of blasphemy by a court in Luxor for “contempt of religion” and “stirring up sectarian strife,” his lawyer said, AFP reported.
Shawki had apparently posted a picture of the Prophet Mohammed with an “insulting comment” on his Facebook page.
Earlier this month, a court in Luxor sentenced a female Coptic Christian teacher to six months in jail after her students accused her of “evangelizing” and insulting Islam.
Egyptian Christians have been disproportionately targeted in blasphemy cases. According to the U.S. State Department, nearly 40 percent of the defendants in blasphemy cases in Egypt are Christians, despite the fact that Christians constitute about only 10 percent of the population.
Islamists have also increasingly targeted Christian churches, homes, and businesses, in addition to abducting Christians for ransom or conversion to Islam.
“In only one province (El-Minia), its Coptic bishop recently revealed that between June 30 and the present time, he recorded 90 kidnap cases of Copts, some of whom have been killed even after their families paid the demanded ransom,” Halim Meawad—the Egyptian-born co-founder of Coptic Solidarity, a U.S.-based international Coptic Christian human rights organization— recently told JNS.org.
In a wave of violence last August, the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters attacked more than 200 churches, Christian businesses, and private homes, leaving at least seven Christians killed and hundreds injured.