The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Saturday's Daily Mail (UK) (Thomas Burrows) reports.
Apparently four Coptic Christian teenagers, on a trip with their teacher, decided to make a joke video about ISIS (a group likely on the minds of many Copts, given the ISIS beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya earlier this year). "In the clip, the boys appear to mock the terrorist organisation by kneeling on the ground to pray hysterically and by imitating a beheading." The video was taken on the teacher's cellphone; the teacher later misplaced the memory card, the card was found by a Muslim neighbor, and things went on from there:
Following the discovery of the video, a group of Muslims filed a complaint with police. [Teacher Gad] Younan was then arrested and charged.
Article 98(f) of the Egyptian Penal Code criminalises a series of faith-related comments, including 'insulting a heavenly religion or a sect following it.'
Mina Thabet, a Coptic activist and researcher of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms told Fox News: 'They are some kids who decided to have fun in a private place..
'They were on a trip with their teacher, but somehow rumour got out that they'd thrown down the Koran, and had insulted Islam, so that led to their arrests.'
He added: 'They used some words that are used in Muslim prayers, but they are in no way being disrespectful to Islam.'
More than 2,000 Muslims then marched through Al-Nasriyah and neighbouring villages, attacking Coptic Christian homes and businesses.
The teenagers are apparently facing up to five years in juvenile detention, and the teacher up to seven years in prison. The Daily Mail article has more, including a link to the video (or at least part of the video). Thanks to Prof. Howard Friedman (Religion Clause) for the pointer.