Christian Teacher to Be Tried in Egypt for Insulting Islam

Coptic Christians
Coptic Christians pray during a Coptic Orthodox Easter mass at the main cathedral in Cairo May 4. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih )

Egypt's prosecutors on Tuesday referred a Christian schoolteacher to trial on charges of insulting Islam, judicial sources said.

Dimiana Abdel-Nour, who was arrested on Wednesday, was accused by her Muslim students' parents of insulting Islam and comparing it to Christianity by saying that the late Coptic Pope Shenouda was better than the Prophet Muhammad.

Alongside the political and economic turmoil Egypt has endured since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, tensions have risen between Muslims and Christians, especially since the election of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in June.

Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 84 million people and have complained that the authorities have failed to protect them since Mubarak was ousted, giving radical Islamists a free hand.

Last year, an Egyptian court sentenced a 17-year-old Christian to three years in jail for publishing cartoons on his Facebook page that mocked Islam and the Prophet, triggering sectarian violence.

At least three people were killed and more than 80 injured in clashes last month between Christians and Muslims at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo after a funeral service for four Christians killed in sectarian violence with Muslims.

Abdel-Nour will appear in a court in Luxor next Tuesday, a judicial source said. She was free on bail of 20 thousand Egyptian pounds ($2,900) pending her trial.

($1 = 6.9645 Egyptian pounds)


Writing by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Alison Williams

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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