10/04/2012, 00.00
EGYPT
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Upper Egypt: two Coptic children arrested for blasphemy

The Imam of Beni Suef (Upper Egypt) accused Rzik Nabil Nagy, age 10 and Mina Farag Nady, of 9, of urinating on the Koran. They are being held in juvenile detention centre in the region. The two children found by man while playing near a dump. Both are illiterate.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Two Coptic children were arrested yesterday in Upper Egypt for having desecrated the Koran. Nabil Nagy Rzik, 10, and Mina Farag Nady, 9, both illiterate, were playing near a garbage can with some papers. They were stopped by the local imam and accused them of having urinated on the pages of the Koran. Before calling the police, the Muslim cleric led Nabil and Nady to the church asking the pastor to punish them. At the priests refusal the Imam took the two children and went to the court house with three other Muslims of the village. Now the two children are in the juvenile prison in Beni Suef.

The father of Nabil Nagy Rizk has defended the children saying that they can not read. They could not have known what was written on the pages found in a bag near a rubbish heap.

The case of Beni Suef comes after a wave of dozens arrested for blasphemy that has intensified with the spread of anti-Islam film "The innocence of Islam" and the cartoons of Mohammed published by the French weekly Charlie Hebdo. The majority of those being arrested are Copts. At the beginning of September in Sohag, Bishoy Kamel, a Coptic religion teacher, was sentenced to six years for the publication of blasphemous cartoons on Facebook and insults against President Mohammed Morsi. On September 13, police arrested Saber Albert, a young Coptic of 25 for posting the anti-Islam film on the internet which caused demonstrations all over the world. Saber is still in custody awaiting trial.

 

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