Egypt (MNN) — A Coptic Christian in Egypt was recently sentenced to three years in prison for a Facebook post. The courts ruled the post on social media by Abdo Adel, 43, was blasphemous and convicted him of “insulting Islam in the first degree.”
Adel was first accused of blasphemy in July when his Facebook post compared Jesus with the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He was arrested and soon afterward, a mob attacked the homes of Coptic Christians. Police arrested 90 Muslims in the mob, then released most of them after a “community reconciliation session.”
While the Egyptian government has spoken against violence targeting Christians, Floyd Brobbel with The Voice of the Martyrs Canada says that doesn’t stop Muslim extremists from persecuting believers in other ways.
“I think what we’re seeing is that you have a number of groups that will use a number of tactics at their disposal to silence a Christian minority in the country. Some will go through a legal route, some will take more hostile forms — whether it’s attacking Christians [or] whether it’s martyring Christians. Some places even restrict church activities. Certainly, they can meet in a church, but any proclamation of the Gospel outside of the church is forbidden.”
Blasphemy accusations and laws, in particular, are becoming more popular among Middle Eastern and South Asian countries. Egypt is no exception.
“Egypt is an Islamic nation and so they will be ruled by Islamic law,” says Brobbel. “They would allow the legal system to prosecute anybody that would speak out against Islam. We see that in Egypt taking place now. We certainly see that in other places like Pakistan, for example, where blasphemy laws are used frequently to imprison Christians while they are waiting for their trial. So it seems to be a pretty popular tactic used to silence the Christian voice within an Islamic nation.
“Now we’re seeing more and more changing of the Constitution within a nation over religious restrictions and governments taking an active role in that. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that more happen in Egypt as well, where you may see [the government] start rolling out policies and new laws that would restrict religion or religious activities.”
VOM Canada works with the persecuted Church around the world, including Egypt, to provide encouragement and offer tools for believers to be Christ’s salt and light in hostile environments.
“Often, that may look like, how do we get Bibles in countries? How do we encourage new believers in the faith and disciple them? So we look for ways we can do that working with the Church in Egypt to be able to facilitate some of those measures.”
VOM Canada also offers practical assistance. The Families of Martyrs Fund aids those who are left destitute after one or both parents have been jailed, killed, or exiled.
Please also pray for Coptic Christians in Egypt, that they would persist in sharing the Gospel with their Muslim neighbors. Pray for Adel to be spiritually encouraged in prison.