Posted on 7th June 2012
Greetings in the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd
In April we requested further prayer for two Christians serving jail sentences after being convicted of insulting the prophet Muhammad. Recall that both had submitted appeals against their convictions. We regret to report that the appeals have been rejected and the sentences confirmed. There is no legal process for further appeals.
Recall that on 29th February Makrem Diab was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by a court in Assiut for allegedly insulting Muhammad. The case was initiated by a colleague filing a complaint after a heated discussion between Makrem and another teacher. On 4th April Gamal Abdou Massoud (aged 17) was convicted of inciting strife and insulting Muhammad, for which he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. He was sentenced for posting cartoons on Facebook deemed offensive to Muslims and distributing them to friends at school in Assuit province. He denies posting the cartoons.
In both cases, the laws they were convicted under have been on the statute book for many years but were rarely applied during the Mubarak era. The stricter application of these laws and harsh sentences in recent months reflects a hardening attitude towards freedom of expression in some parts of Egypt, especially for the Christian minority.
Egyptian Christians have
also requested prayer concerning another
case of unjust imprisonment of Christians. On 21st May, 12 Christians were sentenced to life
imprisonment for their alleged involvement in disturbances in Abu Qurqas, Minya
province, in April 2011 in which at least
three people were killed, including two Muslims and a Christian. They were
convicted of charges including carrying weapons and sentenced on the basis that these were
Egyptian Christians request our prayers that:
a. Makrem, Gamal and the 12 in Abu Qurqas, together with their families, will know the peace and presence of Jesus throughout these ordeals
b. A way will be found to challenge Makrem and Gamal’s unjust imprisonment
c. Laws and practice will be changed to grant all Egyptians greater freedom of expression
d. The military council will order a re-trial for the 12 from Abu Qurqas
e. The law will be applied equally to all citizens
f. All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him.
Open sources used: Watani
May be circulated to
general mailing lists, outside organizations, and quoted from freely in reports
citing “Middle East Concern” as the source of the information.