Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
The New York Times: According to the prisoners’ rights group Freedom for the Brave, 163 people have been forcibly disappeared in Egypt since April.
Al Monitor: The Directorate of Education in Giza, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Education, burned 82 mostly religious books in the yard of the Fadl Modern School in the Faisal area of al-Haram, Giza governorate.
AL Monitor: An Egyptian administrative court on Feb. 18 upheld the Ministry of Religious Endowments’ decision issued in September 2013 to close down neighborhood places of worship of less than 80 square meters (861 square feet), a move intended to protect young people from the militancy and extremism that can prevail in such places, which lack the legal standing to hold Friday prayers.
Crux: “The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard,” he said in Spanish and without a script, always a clear sign that a message is personally important to the pontiff.
The New York Times: Mr. Aly raised his son, Islam Yaken, in Heliopolis, a middle-class Cairo neighborhood with tended gardens and trendy coffee shops, and sent him to a private school, where he studied in French. As a young man, Mr. Yaken wanted to be a fitness instructor. He trained relentlessly, hoping that his effort would bring him success, girlfriends and wealth. But his goals never materialized. He left that life and found religion, extremism and, ultimately, his way into a photograph where he knelt beside a decapitated corpse on the killing fields of Syria, smiling.
NPR: Over the weekend a video emerged apparently showing the Libya branch of the self-proclaimed Islamic State beheading 21 men. All but one were confirmed to be Christian laborers from Egypt.
Religion News Service: The gruesome video released by militants from the Islamic State showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya has focused the world’s attention on the plight of Christians there and the government’s ability to respond.
The Guardian: Egypt reported that its war planes had struck Isis targets in Libya, shortly after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi vowed revenge for the release by Isis-affiliated militants of a video of a mass killing of Christians.
Reuters: An Egyptian court on Saturday banned the armed wing of Palestinian group Hamas and listed it as a terrorist organization, a ruling in keeping with a systematic crackdown on Islamists by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Christian Today: Egyptian Christians are enjoying greater freedoms under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a spokesman for the country’s Catholic Church, has said.
First Things: The Egyptian university, Al-Azhar, the world’s oldest and most prestigious seat of Sunni Muslim scholarship, refused to brand the militant ISIS as infidel, affirming that “we cannot infidelize a Muslim regardless of his sins.”
The Christian Post: The Christian convert who made history by becoming the first person in Egypt’s history to attempt to legally change his religious affiliation on his government identification from Islam to Christianity, has “vowed to starve himself to death” in response to his “illegal” imprisonment, his attorney said.
Religion News Service: Watching ancient Christian communities stand nearly defenseless as Islamic militants roll across swaths of the Middle East, coalitions of Christians are banding together to sound the alarm and demand government action.
Religious Freedom Coalition (Crossfield News): On August 14, 2013 vandals — angry about the dispersion of Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo’s Tahrir Square — broke down the Bible Society Bookshop’s heavy metal door and smashed most of the shop’s glass, Bible Society of Egypt General Director Ramez Atallah said in a release.
Religious Freedom Coalition: A young Christian man in Upper Egypt accused of blaspheming Islam for “liking” a Facebook page was sentenced Tuesday (June 24) to six years in prison, shocking the Coptic community and other Facebook users.
The Christian Post: An Egyptian court has sentenced a Christian journalist who was once Muslim to five years in prison on the allegation of “sectarian strife.”
The Christian Post: More than 550 Coptic Christian schoolgirls in Egypt have been kidnapped by Muslim men and forced to convert and marry their abductors during the last three years, according to the Association of Victims of Abduction and Forced Disappearance (AVAFD).
The Christian Post: The populations of Iraq, Egypt, and Syria — arguably the Middle East’s three most volatile countries in the 21st century — suggest that their turmoil has had especially devastating effects on the Christian population. Syria, for instance, boasted a population of one million Christians in 2010. Today, only 550,000 remain – a drop of nearly 50 percent.
Christian Post: A group of about 150 Christian clergy, leaders, and Congressmen have signed a pledge to support persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
Zenit: Prominent Christian leaders from across ecumenical lines joined together in Washington, D.C., today to pledge to do more to help religious communities who are being persecuted in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.
Reuters: “An Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death for murder and other offences on Monday, in a sharp escalation of a crackdown on the movement that is likely to fuel instability.”
Al-Monitor: “After June 30, 2013, many people thought that the end of Muslim Brotherhood rule would bring about military-enforced secularism, or more religious and personal freedom. Instead, they are slowly finding out that the new state is very similar to the old state and employing the same — if not worse — tactics against said freedoms. The Islamists may no longer be in power, but religious despotism seems to be alive and well in the land of the Nile.”
Samuel Tadros at Defining Ideas: “The promises of January 2011 soon gave way to the reality of May, when the churches of Imbaba were attacked, and October, the time of the Maspero massacre. The complete collapse of the police and the state’s repression apparatus liberated Islamists from any constraints. On the national level, Islamists soon swept elections and dominated the political sphere, and on the local level, Islamists, much more emboldened by the rise of their brethren nationally and the collapse of the police were asserting their power on Egyptian streets and villages and enforcing their views.”
Washington Times: “Voters overwhelmingly supported Egypt’s military-backed constitution in a two-day election, with 98.1 percent supporting it in the first vote since a coup toppled the country’s president, the election commission said Saturday.”
Associated Press: “The new document would ban political parties based on religion, give women equal rights and protect the status of minority Christians. It also gives the military special powers to name its own candidate as defense minister for the next eight years and bring civilians before military tribunals.”
Fox News: “Egyptians began voting Tuesday on a draft for their country’s next constitution, a vision for the nation’s future and a milestone in a military-backed roadmap put in place after Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in a coup last July.”
AP: Millions of Egyptian Christians thronged churches across this mainly Muslim nation for Christmas Mass, held Monday amid unusually tight security but with congregations filled with hope ahead of a key vote on a new constitution that enshrines equality and criminalizes discrimination.
Christian Today: Barnabas Fund has given thanks in its prayer update for a new draft of the Egyptian constitution that grants additional rights to Christians and marks a significant move away from the fundamental Islamic laws that have dominated in the past.
AP: Egypt’s interim government has ordered the assets of more than 500 Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist leaders seized – including those of the country’s ousted president – as part of an ever-tightening crackdown on the group, senior judicial and security officials said Tuesday.
World Net Daily: Specifically, a new criminal complaint has been filed with Egypt’s attorney general, Hisham Barakat, alleging then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton collaborated with Naglaa Mahmoud, the wife of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, in seeking to incite domestic insurrections to topple Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian general who has been commander in chief of the Egyptian armed forces, as well as minister of defense, since Aug. 12, 2012.
Religion Clause Blog: An unofficial English translation of Egypt’s new draft Constitution is now available from Eman Nabih’s blog. (Note the translation begins about 10 paragraphs down in the linked blog post.) The translation does not include a long Preamble that appears in the Arabic version.
Morningstar News: Egyptian authorities this week arrested a Christian who is arguably the nation’s most well-known convert from Islam and are investigating him for several activities, including allegedly inciting “sectarian strife.”
AP: Judiciary officials say two icons of Egypt’s 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak have been sent to trial on charges of taking part in an “illegal” protest and allegedly assaulting policemen.
Religion Clause Blog: Egypt’s Daily News reports that yesterday, the Chairman of the Committee of 50 that has been drafting a new Egyptian constitution transmitted its final draft to interim President Adly Mansour . . . Here are some edited excerpts, but the full analysis is well worth reading . . .
AP: Egypt’s interim president has received the final draft of the country’s amended constitution, setting the stage for a referendum on the revisions made by two secular-leaning panels to the 2012 constitution drafted under the ousted Islamist president.
NY Times: On paper, a draft Egyptian Constitution — which was made publicly available in its entirety for the first time over the weekend — appears to afford citizens important new rights, including by criminalizing torture and human trafficking and requiring that the state protect women from violence.
AP: Egypt’s police fired water cannons Tuesday to disperse two protests by dozens of secular anti-government activists in Cairo, the security forces’ first implementation of a controversial new law forbidding protests held without a permit from authorities.
AP: Clashes between supporters of toppled leader Mohammed Morsi and residents in Alexandria killed a 16-year-old boy, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. It said Ihab Selim suffered a gunshot wound to the chest in the fighting and it was unclear who fired the shot.
AP: Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi accused the military chief who deposed him of treason in a message from prison read by lawyers on Wednesday, saying the country cannot return to stability until the coup is reversed and those behind it are tried.
AP: Supporters of Egypt’s toppled president clashed with opponents Friday as security forces fired tear gas to break up their demonstrations over detained female protesters, part of an effort to draw wider support for their dwindling rallies.
AP: A court in Egypt upheld Wednesday an earlier ruling that banned the Muslim Brotherhood and ordered its assets confiscated, the state news agency reported.
AP: Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohammed Morsi, appeared in court Monday on charges of inciting murder during December clashes at the presidential palace in Cairo. The trial is part of a wide-scale crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood . . .
Mission Network News: The response to the violence against burned churches has also been remarkable. Christians posted signs on their burned out churches the read, “‘You burned our church, but we love you.’ So it’s a great message of forgiveness. This makes many Muslims discover the reality of Christianity, and many of them come to know Jesus.”
AP: The arrest of Essam el-Erian, the deputy leader of the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice party, was the latest in a wide-ranging crackdown of both the Islamist group’s leaders and its rank-and-file members . . .
AP: The judges presiding over the trial of leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood stepped down from the proceedings Tuesday because security agencies would not allow the defendants to attend in court, apparently out of fear of protests, judicial officials said.
Morningstar News: Howida Refaat Azer, 30, had spent days slipping in and out of consciousness following operations on her right leg, and that afternoon her family finally gained the courage to tell her that her daughter, Mariam Nabil Fahmy Azer, had been shot dead in an attack that killed three other wedding guests. Hours later, Azer was shifting back and forth between numbness and agony as five women encircling her bed tried and failed to console her.
Catholic Culture: “The idea that this involves a conflict between Muslims and Christians simply isn’t borne out by reality. Not only Christians are being attacked, but state institutions as well,” Father Kiroulos said. He noted that Islamic extremists have attacked government targets as well as Christian churches. Their goal, he said, is to foment a civil war.
AP: Thousands of supporters of Egypt’s ousted president and his Muslim Brotherhood group marched Friday in Cairo to keep pressure on the military-backed leadership as it tries to stabilize a country roiled by political turmoil.
AP: Egypt’s Christians were stunned Monday by a drive-by shooting in which masked gunmen sprayed a wedding party outside a Cairo church with automatic weapons fire, killing four people, including two young girls, in an attack that raised fears of a nascent insurgency by extremists after the military’s ouster of the president and a crackdown on Islamists.
AP: Egypt’s government and religious leaders on Monday condemned an attack outside a Coptic church in Cairo that killed four people, including an 8-year-old girl, the latest in a rising wave of assaults targeting the country’s Christian minority.
AP: With that oath 10 years ago, Baraa joined the Muslim Brotherhood, an exclusive, secretive and disciplined movement that sees itself on a divine mission to establish Islamic rule.
AP: Egypt’s foreign minister said Wednesday that relations between his country and the United States are in “turmoil” following Washington’s decision to suspend delivery of tanks, helicopters and fighter jets to Egypt.
Washington Post: Nawareg’s sermon was part of a campaign by Egypt’s military-backed government to “standardize religious discourse” and promote what authorities describe as the true “Egyptian Islam.”
AP: Supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president held scattered protests across the country on Friday, calling off a planned rally at Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square almost a week after bloody clashes left nearly 60 dead.
AP: Hundreds of Egyptians are holding candles, waving pictures of slain protesters and demanding retribution from former generals while marking the second anniversary of the killing of 26 people, mostly Christians, in a military crackdown.
AP: The Cairo-based Arab League has condemned remarks by the Czech president about moving his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, calling them a violation of Palestinian rights and international resolutions.
USA Today: Violence erupted Monday between the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian security forces. Several people were killed as court rules Muslim Brotherhood is an outlawed group.
McClatchyDC: Egyptian security forces on Sunday openly beat demonstrators sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, without any provocation, in a sign of how the once powerful group has become the target of official suppression.
AP: Egyptian riot police fired volleys of tear gas and locked down Tahrir Square and several other Cairo streets Friday as clashes briefly broke out in a rare push by Islamist supporters of the ousted president to take control of the iconic square.
AP: It’s an impressive show of survival, giving the image that the Brotherhood is everywhere, just under the surface. But the Brotherhood is in an existential crisis . . .
Morningstar News: A group of Muslims robbed two Egyptian Christians living in Libya, then tied up and shot them to death after the two Copts refused their demand to convert to Islam, relatives said.
Washington Post: Legal experts said the contradictory decisions reflect division within the government over how to deal with the 85-year-old Islamist organization, even as a brutal crackdown against it continues.
AP: An Egyptian court on Monday ordered the Muslim Brotherhood to be banned and its assets confiscated in a dramatic escalation of a crackdown by the military-backed government against supporters of the ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
AP: Egypt’s state media says a leading spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood and other senior members of the group have been arrested in a Cairo apartment.
AP: Sporadic clashes erupted Friday between supporters and opponents of Egypt’s ousted president during nationwide protests as the military b
CNSNews: The wielding of “religious defamation” lawsuits have surged in Egypt in the two-and-a-half years since the Mubarak regime was ousted, an Egyptian human rights group has found. Christians have been disproportionately targeted.
The Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters have began forcing the roughly 15,000 Washington Times: Christian Copts of Dalga village in Egypt to pay a jizya tax as indicated in Koran 9:29, author and translator Raymond Ibrahim reported on Sunday.
FoxNews: The Coptic Orthodox priest would only talk to his visitor after hiding from the watchful eyes of the bearded Muslim outside, who sported a pistol bulging from under his robe.
Breitbart: While the United Nations worries about a local shooting in Florida, in Egypt, a group of Islamists who back their nation’s ousted leader, fellow Islamist Mohammed Morsi, have taken over the town of Dalga where 20,000 Christians now live under oppression, fear, and violence. Already, a 1600 year old monastery has been burned and looted, 40 Christian homes and businesses have been attacked (looted and burned), including the home of an 80 year-old priest