“Rafaat said there is no such criminal charge as ‘evangelism’ under Egyptian law, and that handing out Bibles or even promoting Christianity does not constitute ‘defaming a revealed religion.'” But even though Sharia is not the law of the land in Egypt, its cultural influence remains, leading to incidents such as the persecution of Medhat Ishak. There are corrupt officials everywhere, and they usually present themselves as acting on the side of righteousness; post-Muslim Brotherhood Egypt is no exception.
“Christian in Egypt Kept in Prison on False Charge of ‘Blasphemy,’ Attorney Says,” Morning Star News, August 25, 2015:
ISTANBUL, Turkey (Morning Star News) – An Egyptian Christian who was arrested earlier this month for alleged evangelizing of Muslims in suburban Cairo could be held indefinitely in prison on a false accusation of blasphemy, his lawyer said.
Medhat Ishak, a 35-year-old Christian from Ebid village in Minya Governorate, was arrested on Aug. 7 while handing out Bibles to Muslims outside El-Arab Mall in Sixth of October City. Mall security guards took Ishak into custody and then turned him over to national police, who accused him of evangelism.
The day after his arrest, a judge amended the charge against Ishak to “defamation of a revealed religion” and ordered him held for 15 days. On Monday (Aug. 24) the judge extended Ishak’s detention for another 15 days, said Ishak’s attorney, Rafik Rafaat.
He added that he suspects the judge will keep extending the detention order, in violation of Egyptian law, until the case falls out of the public eye, and then hand Ishak a prison sentence of one to five years.
Rafaat said there is no such criminal charge as “evangelism” under Egyptian law, and that handing out Bibles or even promoting Christianity does not constitute “defaming a revealed religion.”
“Inside the mall he met a young man, and he didn’t know if he was a Christian or not, and he offered him a copy of the Bible and told him he should take it to know God more,” Rafaat said. “So that young man told him that he was a Muslim and doesn’t read the Bible, and Medhat apologized and left.”
The young Muslim man, however, told Ishak, “I am not going to let you go,” and informed mall security that a man was evangelizing in the shopping complex, Rafaat said.
“The mall security called the SSI [the former State Security Investigations Service, now known as Egyptian Homeland Security] and told them that a man was evangelizing,” he said. “Then they arrested him and questioned him and found a few Bibles with him.”
The security officials took an official statement from the Muslim stating that Ishak was distributing Bibles inside the mall and produced other witnesses who said they saw Ishak handing out Bibles.
“The word ‘blasphemy’ means that he was insulting the other religion, but he didn’t do that, and he didn’t talk about Islam or prophets or anything like that to be accused of blasphemy,” Rafaat said. “So, now we are surprised that the attorney general accused him of blasphemy when he didn’t commit any act of blasphemy.”…