A CHARITY that acts as advocate for persecuted Christians, Release International, has launched a new campaign demanding that Egypt guarantee freedom of religion, after the latest report of a Christian man’s being locked up for sharing his faith.
The charity said that Medhat Isha, aged 35, from Minya, was arrested last month and accused of evangelising Muslims in a suburb of Cairo. A judge later changed his charge to “defamation of a revealed religion”, and ordered him to be detained. He has yet to be released.
The chief executive of Release International, Paul Robinson, said: “Two years ago, scores of churches were burning across Egypt, and Christian homes and businesses were being targeted by Islamists. Today, despite the changes in the constitution, Christians still face discrimination. They are still being jailed for blasphemy, and that has to end.”
The charity reported other cases of alleged harassment. In Alexandria, three Christians were arrested in July for handing out bags of dried dates which included a “statement about God’s love”.
Several other Christians and converts from Islam have been accused of blasphemy, or even attacked, Release International said. It has started a campaign that includes a petition, #EveryRight, which has almost 1200 signatures, to call on the Egyptian authorities to live up to the promises of religious freedom in its constitution.
“Although thousands of Christians have left the country, Egypt’s Coptic community is still the largest Christian presence in the Middle East. It would be a tragedy if they felt compelled to leave,” Mr Robinson said.
“We’re appealing to the Egyptian government of President al-Sisi to make good their promises on religious freedom; to make it possible for the country’s Christians to stay.”