Egyptian Copt Held Over Facebook Link to Anti-Islam Video
A Coptic Egyptian who was detained in Cairo last week for posting a controversial video clip mocking the Prophet Muhammad will be kept for a further 15 days pending investigation.
Albert Sabir, 25, was detained on Sept. 13. after posting a Facebook link to the clip, along with a video of himself titled “Who is the spokesman for Allah?” in which he argued that every faith claims sole ownership of the truth.
A crowd gathered in front of his house in the Marg neighborhood of eastern Cairo, chanting slogans and calling for his death, Ahmed Ezzat, a human-rights lawyer who’s following his case, said by phone today. When Sabir called the police for protection they arrested him, Ezzat said.
Egypt and other countries in the Middle East have witnessed mass demonstrations and attacks on embassies over the U.S.-made film in the past week. The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement on Sept. 12 condemning the video, while Egyptian Christians have staged a number of vigils against it.
“It’s unfair. Why are Christians always targeted? Why am I feeling unsafe in my own country?’ Yossef Bolos, a 54-year-old trader of car parts, said by telephone. “Why are they blaming us for something we didn’t commit? And why do we have to always take an apologist line for things we’re not responsible for?”
The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, of which Ezzat is a member, said in a statement on its website that it “emphasizes the danger of ignoring the incitement to violence practiced by a number of religious TV channels against Copts.” Expressing opinions, “even if they are shocking and unfamiliar to the majority of the society,” shouldn’t lead to imprisonment, the association said.
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