Posted on 26th February 2013
Greetings in the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd
Egyptian Christians have requested our prayers concerning a legal case involving two young boys in Ezbat Marko who were accused of defacing pages of the Qur’an in September 2012.
Recall that in October 2012, after a meeting involving local Christians and an international outcry, President Morsi announced a pardon for the boys. The boys, both under nine years old and illiterate, claimed that they found pages of the Qur’an amongst rubbish and were unaware what they had found and were playing with.
However, it emerged in January that the case was being continued under Article 160 of the penal code which criminalises damage to or violation of religious “buildings, symbols or other objects.”
During a hearing on 28th January the prosecution presented conflicting evidence. Despite this, on 4th February the court ruled that they be returned to their parents, without an acquittal. Legally, this means they are considered guilty but are too young to face punishment. The families appealed on the grounds that there was no basis for the charges. Regrettably, an appeal court has ruled that there are no grounds for an appeal, effectively confirming the conviction.
There is no further news concerning Bishoy, Makrem and Gamal, three Christians convicted under blasphemy laws during 2012. Recall that they deny any such offensive behaviour, and refute the evidence brought against them. However, appeals against their convictions were rejected and they continue to serve their sentences.
Christians supporting these families request our prayers that:
a. The two boys and their family will know the healing touch of Jesus following this ordeal
b. Christians and Muslims in Ezbet Marko will live with mutual respect and understanding
c. All those unjustly convicted of blasphemy will know the peace and presence of Jesus
d. Laws and practice will be changed to grant all Egyptians greater freedom of expression, and that the law will be applied equally to all citizens
e. All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him
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.