Egyptian Christian Teenager Receives Further Jail Time Over Offensive Facebook Post

An Egyptian Christian teenager has received 15 more days in jail after being accused of posting images of the Prophet Mohamed on his Facebook page.

Last Saturday, Egyptian state media reported that Gamal Masoud, a secondary school student from Assuit in the southern part of the country, reportedly posted offensive images of the Prophet Mohamed on his Facebook page.

According to prosecutors last Saturday, Masoud’s posted images were believed to be "offensive" to Islam. The charges brought against Masoud could include "contempt of Islam," among other charges. Masoud stated that the images were posted to his Facebook page without his knowledge.

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Egyptian security officials notified that that teenager’s case is still under investigation. Fifteen days have been added to the teen’s previous prison sentence.

The prosecutor reportedly said that an investigation is currently underway over the matter. Community clashes in southern Egypt occurred after the young boy’s arrest last week. Muslim’s opted to torch Christian homes, state media reported. Security and military troops were deployed in Masoud’s home village and neighboring towns in order to quell the violence.

Masoud’s further detainment ended a turbulent year of religious strife in Egypt. On last New Year’s Eve, a bomb attack took place outside of a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria. Twenty people were killed and hundreds were wounded. Less than a month later, a popular uprising ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, but sectarian violence persisted.

Last April, in the Cairo neighborhood of Imbaba, Muslims attacked Christian worshipers in the area. The ensuing clashes left 14 Christians killed.

On October 9 of last year, the military opened fire and ran over Christian protesters demanding greater rights after a church in Assuit was attacked and burned by Muslim rioters. The resulting violence left at least 27 people dead and hundreds more wounded.

George Ishaq, a central figure of the National Coalition for Change, told in a previous interview that both Christians and Muslims must know that the Mubarak government has oppressed both groups equally.

"Egyptians, both Christian and Muslim, have to understand we live in the same country and if we do not believe we are in this together, then the revolution will fail and we will fall back to dictatorship and mistrust," he said.

Leading feminist thinker Nawal al-Saadawi agrees with Ishaq’s assertion. She told that "sectarianism is a very recent concept in Egypt." Saadawi also believes that the intolerance that has arisen in the country, which has also led to more violence and deaths, "is a result of the growing Gulf conservative Islam that is slowing permeating Egyptian society."

"It isn’t something that we can let go, but we can fight it and get things done to make people believe that Egypt is for all Egyptians, Christian and Muslim," she continued.

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