25 February 2016

Egypt sentences 4 Coptic teenagers for contempt of Islam

An Egyptian court convicted four Coptic Christian teenagers for contempt of Islam on Thursday, after they appeared in a video mocking Muslim prayers, sentencing three to five years in prison and referring a fourth to a juvenile detention facility, one

The harsh ruling — which has followed a surge of blasphemy cases in Egyptian courts — underscores what rights groups describe as a culture of intolerance within the country’s judicial system at a time when the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is seeking to position himself as an advocate for religious reform.

The 30-second video showed the students pretending to pray, with one kneeling on the floor while reciting Qur’anic verses and two others standing behind him and laughing. One waved his hand under a second’s neck in a sign of beheading. The video was filmed during a students’ picnic to mock Islamic State group it beheaded Coptic Christians in Libya last year. [The Washington Post] Read more