CAIRO — Two Coptic Christian boys have been put in juvenile detention after locals accused them of urinating on pages of the Islamic holy book, an Islamic cleric and prosecutors said on Wednesday, in the latest in a series of legal cases in Egypt against alleged contempt of religion.
Accusations of insulting Islam have increased in Egypt — particularly against Christians — since last month's fury over an anti-Islam film produced in the United States. Such cases occurred in the past, but the flurry to prosecute in recent weeks has raised concerns over freedom of speech and over the power of ultraconservative Islamists in the country.
The new case is a rare instance of minors being accused. The boys, ages 9 and 10, were detained on Tuesday in a southern town, to be held for 15 days while prosecutors investigate the accusations.
There have been 17 cases of alleged contempt of religion filed since the January 2011 revolution, including at least five in recent weeks, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
In a rare case of prosecuting an offender of Christianity, an Islamic preacher is on trial for tearing up and burning a copy of the Bible during protests last month against the film.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.