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Two Coptic Egyptian boys accused of desecrating Quran

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 4th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Two Coptic Christian boys in Egypt have been accused of tearing up a copy of the Quran and urinating on it in front of a local mosque. The two young boys, who have been identified as being Coptic Christian, have since been placed in juvenile detention.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The act reportedly took place in the Marco village in the province of Beni Suef, south of Cairo. Witnesses say that the brothers, nine-year-old Mina Nadi and 10-year-old Nabil Nadi were detained earlier this week and charged with blasphemy.

According to Reuters, residents of the village and reporters said a passerby had on Monday seen the children ripping up pages of a copy of the Quran and urinating on it in front of the local mosque.

Witnesses took the two boys to the local priest to condemn them for the incident. The locals were not satisfied with what he viewed as the priest's insufficient reprimand and a complaint was filed to the police.

It was not immediately clear why the children had desecrated the Quran. Some say the boys were playing and were not incited by anyone to conduct the act.

Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights has been quoted by the English-language newspaper Daily News Egypt as saying that the children denied the incident. One of them is reportedly illiterate.

Residents said that prosecutors had ordered that the boys be detained for seven days pending an investigation.

In addition, security was stepped up around the village on Tuesday to prevent a potential flare-up of sectarian violence after a group of Muslims gathered around the police station where the children were being held to demand their prosecution.

Around 10 percent of Egypt's 83 million people are Christian, many of who feel threatened about the political rise of Islamists after a popular uprising ousted Hosni Mubarak last year.

Ibrahim told Daily News Egypt that there had recently been a rapid increase in charges of blasphemy, or "contempt of religion."

"These incidents are on the rise and we are seeing an increase in contempt of religion cases and unfortunately most of the cases end up with jail sentences," he told the newspaper.

The incident was just the latest involving religious insults. Protests over the U.S.-made amateur video, "Innocence of Muslims" last month prompted violence across the Arab world. Tensions have increased between Muslims and Christians in Egypt and around the world.

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