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Morning Star News Cairo Correspondent

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world

CAIROEgypt, June 18, 2019 (Morning Star News) – A young Coptic Christian man has been arrested near Cairo, Egypt for allegedly insulting Islam after a hacker posted material on his Facebook page, he and family members said.

Fady Yousef, 25, was arrested early in the morning of June 11 in Giza, southwest of Cairo, despite having posted a video explaining that hackers had placed the offending material on his Facebook page, according to the Coptic Bishopric of Maghagha and El Edwa in Minya.

The previous night (June 10), Muslim extremists angry over the offending material attacked his parents’ home in Eshneen el Nasara village, near Maghgaha in Minya Governorate, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) south of Giza, according to a statement from the bishopric.

“On Monday [June 10] some extremists reaching a few hundred from Eshneen el Nasara village and the villages around it attacked the home of Yousef Todary,” the statement from Bishop Anba Aghathon read. “They entered and destroyed the contents of the house, then moved to the house next door where his brother lived and attacked it from the outside. They were shouting against the Christian religion and the Copts of the village.”

Yousef Todary, his wife and daughter were able to escape minutes before the Muslim extremists broke in and destroyed the refrigerator, television set, mattresses, furniture and windows, according to the bishop.

Stating that Muslim extremists alleged the post was insulting to Islam, the bishop defended Fady Yousef, reiterating that he said his Facebook was hacked.

The young Copt posted an apology on the page saying he would never do such a thing, and that people who knew him know this well. His sister, Nermeen Yousef, also posted a clarification, saying her brother apologized not because he did anything wrong, but because people mistakenly believed that he was the author of the post, according to Copts United.

“He is apologizing because he respects your feelings,” she wrote. “He is not a child to do such a thing, and also his friends are Muslims and always tell me they are dear to him and they know this well.”

Along with Fady Yousef, police also detained his brother and uncle; two other uncles turned themselves in as soon as they heard that police sought them, according to various sources. They were all transported to Minya pending investigations, and on Friday (June 15) Copts United reported that the brother and uncles had been released.

Yousef is in custody facing charges of posting material offensive to religion, according to Copts United. Insulting a heavenly religion (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) in Egypt, where the state religion is Islam, is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of 500 to 1,000 Egyptian pounds (US$30 to US$60), according to Article 98(f) of the Penal Code.

Police reportedly arrested 25 people suspected of attacking the home of Yousef Todary and those of other Christians in the village, as well as others who wrote posts on social media to instigate attacks.

Police reportedly dispersed angry crowds and set up protective posts in Eshneen el Nasara and other villages. They also set a protective perimeter around the village the following Friday (June 14) in anticipation of possible violence, according to Copts United.

The bishop’s statement noted that Reda Eid, a Muslim from the same village, during Easter posted derogatory words against Christianity, the church and its leadership. Eid later went to the church leaders to apologize, taking some of his Christian friends with him, according to the statement. Father Soliman responded “You are our son, you came here and I accept your apology, we are all brothers,” thus ending the incident, according to Copts United.

Egypt ranked 16th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. 

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that can orient you on how to get involved. 

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Article originally published by Morning Star News. Used with permission.

Photo courtesy: Alex Haney/Unsplash

 

 

 

A student in an online video says he was kicked out of class for telling his teacher that he believes in only two genders — male and female.

The video does not name the student or the teacher who removed the student from his class, but the male student was able to record the exchange on video.

In the video, the student asks why he was kicked out of class. The teacher says the student was discriminating in his comment that he believes in only two genders.

“You aren't being inclusive," the teacher said on the video. "I know what the authority thinks and point of view. It's very clear that we make no discrimination on the grounds. I'm sorry what you choose to make an issue about a point that is contrary to policy," he added.

The student said he believed it wasn’t “scientific” for there to be more than two genders.

“I think it's silly to have anything other than two genders," the student said. "It's not scientific whatsoever. I stated something that I believe in and you kicked me out of class. I wasn't making a discrimination. I was simply saying there are two genders, male and female. Anything else is a personal identification.”

The teacher then tells the student to "keep that opinion to your own house and not in this school.” The teacher noted, “I am stating what is national school authority policy.”

"What you are saying is not very inclusive, and this is an inclusive school,” he added.

“What I was saying, was that what was on the website… there are more than one gender in this country. That is my opinion and that is an opinion which is acceptable in the school. I'm afraid that yours, which you are saying there is no such thing as anyone other than male or female is not inclusive. You're choosing to make an issue about this," the teacher added.  "You're making bad choices."

The video ends with the student saying, “Thanks for wasting my time.”

As the teacher walks out he replies, "I am not allowed to tell you how much of my time you have wasted."

Photo courtesy: Tim Mossholder/Unsplash

Video courtesy: Paris Cloud

U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced on Monday that the U.S. will be sending 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East to “address air, naval, and ground-based threats” in the area.

According to Fox News, Shanahan approved a request from Central Command to send reinforcements after images were released on Monday of two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and near the heavily populated Strait of Hormuz that had been targeted by Iranian forces. 

Last Thursday, Iranian forces are believed to have used limpet mines to attack two oil tankers, leaving major damage behind. 

The released photos show a large hole in the side of one of the vessels – the Japanese owned Kokuka Courageous. Officials believe the hole, which was strategically placed just above the ships water line, was created by a limpet mine to damage the ship rather than to sink it. 

The other tanker that was attacked was the Norwegian-owned crude oil tanker MT Front Altair. Photos show the Front Altair engulfed in flames after the explosion, National Public Radio reports.

Thursday’s attacks caused the forced evacuation of some 44 sailors, but no deaths have been reported.

According to Fox News, the photos – which were taken from a Navy helicopter – not only reveal the damage done to the ships, but also show several members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGC) extracting an unexploded mine from the side of the Kokuka Courageous.

The attacks, according to Shanahan, have confirmed key intel about the growing aggression by Iran in the Middle East. 

"The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region," Shanahan said in a statement. "The United States does not seek conflict with Iran.  The action today is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests."

Photo courtesy: Lewis Pratt/Unsplash

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