Two Christian Children Arrested in Egypt for Defaming Islam

Two Coptic Christian boys were arrested and detained by Egyptian authorities for insulting Islam after accusations they had torn up pages of the Koran.

Nabil Rizk, 10, and Mina Farag, nine, have been held in a juvenile detention facility in Upper Egypt since yesterday pending further investigation, Ishak Ibrahim, head of religious freedom at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, said by phone today. A resident went to the police station accusing the boys of tearing up papers, included Koranic verses.

The boys have been detained, according to a faxed statement today from the Egyptian prosecutor in the town of Beni Suef.

A Coptic schoolteacher in Sohag was sentenced last month to six years in prison for posting cartoons deemed defamatory to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad on his Facebook account.

More than 18 cases of religious defamation have been filed since the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak last year, Ibrahim said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Salma El Wardany in Cairo at selwardany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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