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International: Egypt – Coptic Christians under threat

September 2018

A Muslim mob attacked Christian homes after an Egyptian Christian was accused of insulting Islam on social media. According to reports from Barnabas Fund, the mob attacked the homes of Christians in the Egyptian village of Menbal in the Minya governorate in July, after a member of the Christian community was accused of insulting Islam on social media.

Police subsequently arrested 90 Muslims and charged them with mob violence, inciting sedition and attacking police. Abdu Adel Ayad, a 40-year-old Christian from the village, was detained by police on 6 July. He was accused of ‘disdaining Islam’ by posting a link on Facebook comparing Islam to other religions.

Police are currently investigating the accusation. If found guilty, he could face a five-year jail sentence and a fine of up to 1,000 Egyptian pounds under article 98(f) of the Egyptian penal code, which criminalises ‘disparaging or contempt of any divine religion or its adherents’.

Following the arrest, the mob descended on the homes of Christians in the village, pelting stones and shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’. Police intervened to protect the Christian community, and maintained a police cordon around Christian homes in the village.