- Christians and moderate Muslims are concerned and shocked by the six-year
sentence inflicted on Bishoy Kamel, a Christian teacher who posted online satirical
cartoons on Islam on 30 July, and allegedly insulted Egypt's president. In front
of the courthouse where the trial was held, hundreds of Salafists gathered ready
to lynch the offender. Sources close to Kamel's family say that he was beaten
in prison. The sentence was passed yesterday, but Kamel's lawyers have already
appealed for a retrial by a less biased court.
Nagui Damian, a
young Catholic Coptic activist, and a leader in the Jasmine Revolution, told AsiaNews that the sentence has shaken Christians
and Muslims, who are afraid of some peculiar positions taken by the president. The
last time someone got three years in jail for insulting the head of state, King
Farouk was still in power. He was overthrown in 1952.
Nagui Damian said
that many Muslims protested and wrote letter to newspapers and online forums,
saying that six years in prison for posting cartoons offensive to Islam and
insulting President Mohammed Morsi was too much.
During his 30
years of power, even Mubarak was more indulgent. In 2007, a young blogger,
Kareem Amer, got only one year for insulting the president.
involving insults to Islam or the president were settled with fines or a few months
In the recent wave
of anti-American demonstrations caused by the blasphemous Muhammad tape, some Muslim
journalists have asked whether the same punishment would have been inflicted on
someone who insulted the symbols of other religions, like Christianity.
For the moment,
police arrested another activist, Albert Saber, who posted the blasphemous movie
Nagui Damian, religious minorities and moderate Muslims must speak out to stop Islamists
from influencing international organisations and hijack the Jasmine Revolution.
religious authorities have criticised the offensive acts against the Islamic religion.
For every Egyptian, Christian or Muslim, insulting religion is a shameful act
that must be punished, but there must be impartiality. For this reason, it
makes no sense to ask the United Nations to adopt a law on Islamophobia as some
Muslim leaders have suggested. The Egyptian state and the International community
must defend all religions, not one in particular."