Earlier, I wrote about a man who was arrested for liking a Facebook page. He was sentenced, yesterday, to 6 years in prison. He was found guilty of violating two articles of the Egyptian Penal Code – Article
98F, defaming a divinely revealed religion, and Article 176, inciting
Atallah had liked a Facebook page called “Knights of the Cross.” This is a Christian page. Atallah is a Coptic Christian. According to his lawyer, he did not make any comments on the page or interacted in any way other than to “like” the page. When he found that he had offended some Muslims in the community, he “un-liked” the page.
The Knights of the Cross Facebook page was designed to provide
Arabic-speaking converts from Islam – many forced to live alone and in
hiding – a cyber-place to encourage each other and safely discuss the
Bible. Members also post essays about Christian apologetics and entries
about perceived errors and conflicts in the Koran.
It is unknown what day Attallah “liked” the Knights of the Cross
Facebook page. Attallah obtained a cell phone sometime in May and
started his own Facebook page soon thereafter. Days later, Muslims in
his village became aware that he had “liked” the offending page, and by
May 28, they printed and distributed leaflets demanding vengeance
against him. One leaflet read, “You will not be men if you don’t kick
him out of your village,” according to Samaan.
The Muslims tried to attack Attallah at his home the next day, but
security authorities intervened by arresting Attallah. Authorities did
not arrest any of the Muslims involved in the attack or those who
incited it with the leaflets. Up until the day before the sentencing,
Muslims were intermittently attacking Christian-owned homes and
businesses, using the Facebook site as an excuse.
Atallah, with his lawyers, will be appealing the sentence next month. His family is running into financial hardships due to the cost of all of the litigating. Unfortunately, the Luxor community is disproportionately persecuted by “offended” Muslims.
**Atallah’s name is reported with various different spellings. When researching his case, use different spellings. I will keep my blog updated with his news.FOLLOW ME