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Coptic Children Released After Initial Arrest For 'Insulting Islam'

(Updated) Two boys, ages 9 and 10, were released pending investigation and questioning but not acquitted.

Update (Mar. 6): An Egyptian court has convicted two boys, Rzik Nagy, 10, and Mina Farag, 9, of blasphemy against the Qur'an.

Luckily, this case has a silver lining: In spite of the conviction, the boys only were "remanded...to the custody of their parents" because of their young age.

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In the wake of the high-profile case of Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old Pakistani Christian girl arrested for allegedly blaspheming the Qur'an, two Coptic Christian boys face similar accusations in Egypt this week.

Nabil Nagy Rizk, 10, and Mina Nady Farag, 9, were arrested Wednesday for insulting Islam, but the attorney general ordered both boys to be released the next day "due to their young age." Both families agreed to return to court for questioning, but the boys previously had been placed in a juvenile detention center to await their hearing on Sunday.

Ibrahim Mohamed Ali, the village imam, accused the children of tearing up pages of the Qur'an. Other reports say the boys also urinated on the pages, but the police chief said no one witnessed this incident.

According to Ahram Online, Nabil's father Nagy Rizk says the boys are illiterate and did not know the content of the papers which they found in a bag near a pile of street trash.

Ishak Ibrahim, head of religious freedom at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, says more than 18 cases of religious defamation have been filed since the uprising that ousted former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. At least three of those cases have occurred in recent weeks, following violent attacks sparked by the anti-Islam YouTube film, Innocence of Muslims, allegedly produced by Coptic activists in the U.S.

CT has previously reported on anti-blasphemy laws in Pakistan, including the case against Masih in September, as well as on the Innocence of Muslims protests.

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Related Topics:Middle East
Posted:October 4, 2012 at 9:35AM
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