A U.S.-based group of advocates for the equality and rights of Coptic Christians plans to hold a demonstration in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, to condemn the power grab and other illegitimate measures taken by President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, organizers stated Friday.
The Egyptian Front for National Salvation and Coptic Solidarity is upset by the fact that 10 days before the Supreme Constitutional Court was scheduled to issue its ruling on Dec. 2 in lawsuits regarding the legitimacy of the Constituent Assembly, Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration in which he arrogated to himself sweeping powers, and enabled himself to be shielded from legal challenge through the courts.
The solidarity group states that the day before the court's session, the Constituent Assembly, dominated by Islamists after the withdrawal of civil (non-Islamist) forces and Christians, rushed a new draft constitution considered to be a blueprint to establish a "theocratic state" and take Egypt centuries back. President Morsi immediately called for a referendum to be held on Dec. 15, ignoring even the mandatory delay needed to have a public discussion on the document. more >>
An Episcopal church in Pasadena, Calif., has been receiving a rash of hate emails for opening its doors to participants of the upcoming Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) Convention in December.
The Rev. Ed Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church told CBS Los Angeles that the emails are "toxic stuff," ranging from "scapegoating Muslims, totally misreading what Islam is all about, telling us we can't call ourselves a Christian body because we've allowed Muslims into our church."
"They're saying we have abandoned our Christian roots, that we are gullible and being used by terrorists, all of which is totally unfounded," the Rev. Bacon told CBS. more >>
Islamic members of Egypt's constitution panel rushed to approve a draft constitution Friday morning without the presence of liberal and Christian members, two days before a court ruling that could possibly dissolve the panel.
"Rushing through a draft while serious concerns about key rights protections remain unaddressed will create huge problems down the road that won't be easy to fix," Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for the New York-based Human Rights Watch told NBC News.
Only the Islamic majority members of the 100-person panel were present Nov. 29 and Nov. 30 to speedily approve a draft constitution, as the panel's minority Christian, secular, and liberal members have been protesting the Islamic domination of the constitution creation process for weeks. more >>
Cairo officials ruled Wednesday that seven Egyptian Christians in the U.S. and Canada be sentenced, in absentia, to death for their participation in the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" film, which was published to YouTube in September and resulted in riots and protests among Muslims in the Middle East.
"The seven accused persons were convicted of insulting the Islamic religion through participating in producing and offering a movie that insults Islam and its prophet," Egyptian Judge Saif al-Nasr Soliman said Wednesday, according to Reuters.
The court charged the seven Coptic Christians, which include the film's director and producer Mark Basseley Youssef, with "intentionally committing acts to harm the unity of the country and peace of its land, calling to divide the country into small states on a sectarian basis and harming national unity, and using religion to promote extremist ideas resulting in religious division and disrespect [of] heavenly religion," according to NBC News. more >>
The 14-year-old Pakistani Christian girl who was charged with committing blasphemy against Islam has been acquitted, after an Islamabad court found evidence that a Muslim cleric who accused her of tearing up pages from the Quran may have been the one to plant the evidence.
The girl, known as Rimsha Masih and said to have mental difficulties, was arrested in August after she was accused of burning pages from the Quran, the Muslim holy book. Such an offense is recognized as blasphemy in Pakistan, which has a 97 percent Islamic population. Blasphemy is punishable by imprisonment and in some cases even death.
Rimsha was released on bail in September, but only now where the charges against her dropped, with the court saying that the accusations were "based on heresy and incriminated material that was planted in the girl's possession," according to defense lawyer Abdul Hameed. more >>
An interfaith group that brings Christians and Jews together for common goals, including the support of Israel, announced on Friday that it will increase its funding of emergency aid for families in southern Israel. Rocket attacks on cities in southern Israel occurred this week and are said to be continuing as the IDF launches a wide assault on what it describes as "terror activity sites" and military infrastructure in Gaza Strip.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) said that $2.7 million in funds will go to an emergency and security aid package that includes supplies for the people in communities under fire, including Netivot, Sderot, Kiryat Malachi, Kiryat Gat, Sdot Negev, and Eshkol.
"With 20 percent of the nation's people in bomb shelters today, improving the security of the residents of the south is a vital priority for The Fellowship," said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and CEO of The Fellowship. "The untenable situation of more than 1 million residents living under constant threat of rocket fire must top the list of concerns of every friend of Israel. We are working hand-in-hand with the Israel Ministry for Home Front Defense and the IDF, and we will continue to cooperate to ensure the security of Israel's people." more >>