Officials from Egypt's powerful State Security Intelligence (SSI) agency detained a Coptic Orthodox Christian for the fourth time in early June, interrogating him under torture on accusations of preaching Christianity to Muslims. Aziz Tawfik Rezkalah, 56, was arrested by SSI officials on the night of June 7 at his home in El Mahalla el-Kubra, 60 miles north of Cairo in the Nile Delta.Rezkalah said the police accused him of "preaching the gospel to someone called Zakaria." A police officer named Mohammed Issa and another officer identified only as "Yasser" stripped Rezkalah of all his clothing, blindfolded him and then insulted and beat him, demanding that he confess to the accusation."I never saw this person (Zakaria) before," Rezkalah said. However, he had heard that a man by that name had reportedly complained to the sheikh of the local mosque because the mosque's microphone was placed directly in front of his apartment."I requested to face Zakaria," Rezkalah said, "or to hear tapes recorded with my voice, (saying what) they claimed." The Copt said he was not allowed to meet his accuser, nor was he confronted with proof concerning the allegations."They came and took me in front of my family, after midnight," said Rezkalah, who is married with three daughters."All of this is because I am the chief of the board of directors of a Christian organization," Rezkalah said. He currently heads a Coptic Orthodox organization called "Nour El-Injil," meaning, Light of the Gospel.As a registered group, Nour El-Injil sponsors a variety of spiritual activities for Coptic Christians in El Mahalla el-Kubra, where its ministry has reportedly decreased the number of Copts willing to convert to Islam."He is effectively teaching Christians ...1
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