Egypt arrests students for publishing video mocking Christianity

Egyptian authorities have arrested four students for mocking Christian rituals in an online video and ordered them to be kept in custody for four days, a judicial source said on Monday.

According to an official statement by the Egyptian Interior Ministry, the university students aged between 19 and 24 were accused of being in “contempt of the Christian religion” after posting a video on YouTube on January 31 mocking Christian religion rituals which  included christian  hymns and prayers.

They were arrested last week and remanded in custody by the state prosecutor overnight Sunday.If tried and found guilty they could face up to five years in prison.

However, the students later apologized saying that they did not have any intentions of insulting the Christian religion.The idea of ​​the video was by one of the students, ‘Mustafa H.F.’, who got inspired by a satirical page on Facebook that posted comical comments on political, economic and religious issues.

Trials for “contempt” of Christianity are rare in Egypt where more frequently charges are levelled for contempt of Islam usually against liberal Muslim intellectuals.

In 2016 four Coptic teenagers were found guilty of being in contempt of Islam and three of them were handed five-year sentences each after mocking Muslim prayer in a video.

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