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Reformers in Egypt's parliament want to have a controversial blasphemy law removed from the constitution, but the Ministry of Justice is trying to block their efforts. The law has frequently been used to prosecute people who seem to criticize Islam, and it's also misused to persecute minorities such as Christians.

The Ministry of Justice opposes any repeal of the blasphemy law, claiming it helps stop the spread of "strife and division." However, reformers say the statute is contrary to the constitution. Additionally, the law is vague, giving judges too much discretion to issue harsh punishments.

Since Egypt's new constitution was passed in 2014, there have been many controversial prosecutions of Christians, while extremists who attacked Christian communities were allowed to act with impunity.

Earlier this month, hundreds of Muslims gathered in Qaryat Al Bayda village, south of Alexandria, and vandalized property belonging to Pastor Karas Nasr's church. Security forces didn't intervene to stop the attack, but instead arrested six Christians on accusations of planning to illegally build a church.

In 2014, there were two high-profile cases in which the blasphemy law was used against Christians. Dimyana Abd al-Nour, a 27-year-old teacher, was sentenced to six months in prison for comments she allegedly made in a history class; and 29-year-old Kirollos Shawqi Attallah was given a six-year sentence merely for "liking" a Facebook page for Christian converts. Other reports may be found at the Egypt Country Report.

Please pray that the blasphemy law will be repealed, and that the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will choose to support freedom of religion. Uphold all who are being unjustly imprisoned in Egypt at this time, asking the Lord to grant them the strength they need to endure until their release. Continue to pray for the protection of Pastor Karas and his congregation, especially those who have been arrested and falsely accused.