An Egyptian court has sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death for the murder of a policeman and their role in anti-government clashes, a ruling which human rights lawyers has called "over the top."
"This is way over the top and unacceptable. It turns the judiciary in Egypt from a tool for achieving justice to an instrument for taking revenge," said lawyer Mohamed Zarie, who heads the Arab Penal Reform Organization rights center in Cairo, according to The Associated Press on Monday.
"This verdict could be a precedent both in the history of Egyptian courts and perhaps, tribunals elsewhere in the world." more >>
A top Islamic institute in Egypt has called for a ban on Darren Aronofsky's upcoming "Noah" movie, arguing that the Hollywood film provokes people and violates Islamic law.
Al-Azhar, a main Sunni Muslim institute, said in statement on Thursday that movies like "Noah" are "contrary to faith and to the fundamentals of the Islamic Sharia [law]," and announced that it is prohibiting the screening of films that personify biblical figures, Al Arabiya News reported.
"Al-Azhar renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah's prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet [Muhammad]," the institute said, adding that such productions "provoke people's feelings." more >>
Egypt's interim government resigned Monday, apparently to allow army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is also serving as the defense minister, to run for president. Meanwhile, ousted President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was accused of spying for Iran.
Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, who was tasked by interim President Adly Mansour with running the government's affairs until the election due in April, declared the government's resignation in a speech that was telecast live Monday.
Beblawi said his government "made every effort to get Egypt out of the narrow tunnel in terms of security, economic pressures and political confusion." more >>
A bomb exploded in a tourist bus in Egypt Sunday, killing three South Korean Christians and the Egyptian driver. Egypt's Islamist insurgency, which began after the military removal of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last year, has become a major threat to the country.
About 32 Koreans were traveling from St. Catherine's Monastery, an Orthodox and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Egypt's south Sinai, to neighboring Israel when an explosion ripped through the bus about 250 yards from the border on Sunday afternoon.
It is believed that Moses received the Ten Commandments from God around the site of this monastery, which is officially known as "Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai." more >>
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has ordered Egyptian Muslims to stop persecuting their fellow Middle Eastern Christians and instead focus their energy on confronting the military-backed government.
Ayman al-Zawahri, an Egyptian physician who has been responsible for terrorist attacks in North America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East and dubbed as the "mastermind" behind 9/11, told his followers in an audio message posted to militant websites this week that they should stop antagonizing the country's Christians because "we have to be busy confronting the Americanized coup of (Gen. Abdel-Fattah) el-Sissi and establish an Islamic government instead," according to the Associated Press.
In July 2013, Egypt's military oversaw the ejection from power of then-President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was elected just a year before. Following Morsi's fall from power, Coptic Christians were made into scapegoats and targeted by Morsi-supporters after some Copt leaders had expressed their support of action against Morsi's regime. more >>
Egypt's interim president, Adly Mansour, paid a historic visit to Coptic pope Tawadros II on Sunday, the first such meeting in 40 years. While the meeting was aimed at reassuring Christians that the new government will be better than the Muslim Brotherhood, a watchdog group has warned that it remains to be seen whether this move will benefit Christians, or if it will lead to new attacks instead.
"This visit could be seen as a positive or negative. Of course, under former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, Christians were even more singled out and persecuted," Open Doors USA Media Relations Director Jerry Dykstra told The Christian Post in an email on Monday.
The watchdog group has closely monitored the attacks Christians in Egypt suffered this past year following the fall of Morsi, when Islamist groups attacked and burned down Christian churches, schools, orphanages and bookstores. Open Doors even asked for emergency support of $430,000 in August following news that followers of Christ were also being murdered. more >>