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Photo: Flickr / steakpinball

On June 11th, an Egyptian court convicted Christian teacher "Demiana" of defaming Islam, handing her a massive fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds (an equivalent of about $14,270 CAN).

The elementary school teacher was falsely charged of defaming Islam after three students and their parents complained to the school administration that she had made a blasphemous gesture while teaching. After two independent investigations were conducted, both found no basis for the complaint. Ten of the 13 interviewed pupils stated that the accusations were false. However, lawyers representing the parents of one student went to the prosecutor's office and filed a complaint. This has resulted in Demiana's detainment on May 9th (though on May 13th she was released on bail), three court hearings, in addition to the heavy fine. To review the previously posted report, please click here.

Before losing her position in wake of the accusations brought against her, Demiana earned about $300 CAN a month. It is believed that the fine is far beyond her ability to pay. However, human rights activist Mohammed Noubi was surprised that the guilty verdict did not send her to prison, despite the clamour militant Muslims created in the courtroom that put intense pressure on the judge. "I personally was expecting a prison sentence, but thank God she was only given a fine," he concludes. While Demiana's lawyers plan to appeal, human rights activists believe the accusations against her reflect a growing trend in Egypt of disproportionate use of the nation's blasphemy statutes against members of the country's Christian minority. Learn more about the situation in Egypt by checking VOM's Egypt Country Report.

Pray that Demiana will not fear but trust explicitly in the LORD during this time of trouble, relying on the Holy Spirit to help her respond appropriately to the situation. Ask the Lord to bring vindication so she will be cleared of the accusations and able to recover from the financial and emotional duress experienced as a result. In addition, may she eventually be in a position where she can safely resume her calling to teach school children.

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
106,437,241 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Egyptian (99.7), other (0.3)

Religion (%)
Islam (90), Christianity (10)

Leader
President Abdelfattah Said El-Sisi (2014)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system based on Napoleonic civil and penal law, Islamic religious law, and vestiges of colonial-era laws

Source: World Factbook

Pray for Egypt

Pray on behalf of those who are facing economic and social challenges because of their Christian faith. Ask the Lord to provide for their spiritual and practical needs – further strengthening and emboldening them so they can effectively share the message of the Gospel with others in their communities. May the hearts of those who hear it be open and receptive to the wonderful truths contained in God’s Word.

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