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World News

CSW calls for an end to hate speech after attack on Christian man and his son in Egypt

by Donna Birrell

A Christian charity is calling for more to be done to tackle hate speech after a Christian man and his son were attacked with a knife in Egypt.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says Joseph Israel was attacked outside his wine shop in the district of Giza along with his son in the early hours of 28th July 2022.

A 43-year-old Muslim man, Ahmad Mouhammad is said to have attacked both with a knife before some of Mr Israel's Muslim neighbours intervened and turned on the assailant. He’s now in hospital along with Mr Israel and his son.

In a post on Facebook, Coptic journalist Nader Shokry suggested that the attacks were the result of hate speech and sectarian incitement by Islamist preachers such as Sheikh Abdullah Rushdy and Sheikh Mabrook Attia.

In recent weeks, Sheikh Attia has appeared in controversial YouTube videos commenting on the murder of a 21-year-old university student Naira Ashraf who was stabbed to death by a male student after rejecting his repeated advances.

Sheikh Attia blamed the victim for not wearing a hijab and criticised how she dressed. He had also encouraged women to cover themselves up to avoid attacks. In another video clip, Sheikh Attia criticised the sermon on the Mount and mocked the name of Jesus.

According to one of (CSW)’s sources, a number of lawyers have filed complaints against Sheikh Attia with Egypt’s prosecutor general, accusing him of contempt of religion and inciting hate.

The same source expressed frustration that Article 98 of the Penal Code, which pertains to contempt of religion, is consistently used to prosecute Christians and intellectuals, but is never employed against preachers spreading hate speech.

CSW's founder president Mervyn Thomas said: "We are relieved that Mr Israel and his son have survived this brutal attack, thanks to the intervention of their Muslim neighbours.

"However, more must be done to tackle the hate speech that fuels sectarianism and prompts attacks such as these. CSW urges the Egyptian government to continue formulating and enacting policies to counter sectarianism and hate speech, while ensuring that justice is served in this case in order to serve as a deterrent."


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