- Christian faces trial and mob violence for social media post about his faith
- Pew research: global restrictions on religion at all-time high
MINYA (27 November 2020) – Omar* has spent over three months in prison in Egypt for a post on Facebook. He was accused of sharing a post about Christianity which some alleged was insulting to Islam. His prison sentence has been extended repeatedly at multiple hearings. The judge is reluctant to release him due to demonstrations and fear of Omar being killed by a mob. ADF International calls upon the government of Egypt to ensure his prompt and safe release.
“Nobody should be persecuted because of their faith. Blasphemy laws directly violate international law. All people have the right to freely choose, and live out, their faith. Having the freedom to share your faith on social media is part of the right to freedom of religion. Not only are Omar’s fundamental rights being violated but his life is also in danger simply because of his faith. We urge all governments to cease the persecution of Christians through the enforcement of their blasphemy laws and to ensure their rights to freedom of religion and expression are protected,” said Kelsey Zorzi, Director of Advocacy for Global Religious Freedom for ADF International.
Persecution of minorities in Egypt
After being arrested, Omar was subjected to multiple court hearings. Each time, his imprisonment has been extended. Angry mobs have formed against him in his village and his family has been harassed. In Egypt, Christians and other religious minorities are subjected to mob violence and attacks. The rate of kidnappings of Christian women and girls for forced marriage and conversion has also increased in recent years. Rather than protecting minorities, the authorities do little to stop such persecution and arrest members of the targeted minority groups in order to placate the mobs instead.
Blasphemy laws in Egypt make it illegal to “instigate sedition and division” or bring “disdain and contempt” to “any of the heavenly religions or the sects belonging thereto.” Christians and other religious minorities have faced restrictions on their free speech but also persecution and jail for speaking about their faith.
Egypt is not the only country, in which religious minorities are persecuted and unable to enjoy their right to freedom of religion. Just recently, Pew Research Center published a new study stating that government restrictions on religion globally have reached an all-time high. According to this study, the Middle East and North Africa region have the highest median level of government restrictions on religion.
Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International said, “Religious minorities, and Christians in particular, face widespread and severe persecution. No one should turn a blind eye to the plight Christians are facing in Egypt and many other countries across the globe, everyday.”
*name changed for security reasons