In the satellite town of 6 October, west of Cairo Medhat Ishaq, 35, was held by passers by in front of the upscale shopping Mall of Arabia and handed to the police for giving away copies of the Holy Bible and attempting to persuade people to join the Christian religion. Ishaq was accused of exploiting religion in speech and printed material to promote sedition and harm national unity. A preliminary decision by the prosecution ordered that Ishaq should be kept in custody for four days. The nine copies of the Bible in his possession were confiscated and sent to Dar al-Kitab al-Muqaddas (Home of the Holy Bibile) publishing house to verify their authenticity.
According to Ishaq’s family in the village of Beni Ebeid in Minya, Upper Egypt, some 250km south of Cairo, Ishaq has contested the decision to detain him, and a lawyer is now in charge of defending him. Ishaq’s family were shocked at the decision to detain their son, pointing out that it is not reasonable that anyone in possession of a Bible should to be held with such serious charges. They insisted that this never took place before in Egypt; “we only heard of the confiscation of Bibles in Wahabi Saudi Arabia,” they said.
Matters in Beni Ebeid remain calm with no tensions between Copts and Muslims.
10 August 2015