End Times News Update
Sign: Believers Persecuted
Scripture: Matthew 24:8
News Source: NBC News
Egypt issues arrest warrants for Terry Jones, Coptic Christians over
By NBC News staff and wire services
Egyptian authorities on Tuesday ordered the arrest of seven Egyptian
Coptic Christians and a U.S. pastor for alleged involvement in the
production of an anti-Islam video tied to protests across the Middle
East and North Africa, the BBC reported.
The seven Egyptians — one woman and seven men — and Florida Pastor
Terry Jones will be tried by a criminal court on charges of “insulting
the Islamic religion, insulting the prophet and inciting sectarian
strife,” in the “Innocence of Muslims” film made in California, the
BBC reported, citing Egypt’s public prosecutor.
The seven Copts to be tried include Elia Basseley, who the prosecutor
said is also known as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. The 55-year-old,
widely linked to the film, has been interviewed by U.S. federal
officers probing possible probation violations. Also named was
U.S.-based Morris Sadek, who has said he promoted the film that
provoked outrage in the Muslim world.
Jones, who angered Muslims in 2010 by threatening to burn the Quran,
also is accused for supporting the film.
The connection of the other five Copts accused in the case, who were
not identified, to the film was unclear.
The public prosecutor said in a statement that convictions could be
punishable by death and called for the seven Copts and Jones to be
handed over to Egypt. The statement did not say in which the countries
the Copts were.
A judicial source said two Egyptian lawyers had raised the suit with
the public prosecutor, who referred the case to a criminal court on
Tuesday. The court will set a date for the trial, the source added.
Anger at the film has stretched across the Middle East, Asia and
Africa. In several cities, protesters attacked U.S. embassies, blaming
America for the video. In Egypt, protesters clambered over the embassy
wall in Cairo and tore down the U.S. flag, and clashed with police in
streets nearby for four days.
For many Muslims, any depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is blasphemy,
let alone one deemed insulting. The crude film portrayed the Prophet
as a womanizer, thug and child molester. Clips circulated on the
Internet for weeks.
The U.S. government has called the film disgusting and reprehensible,
but said it could not act against it as that would violate freedom of
expression. Egypt has urged Washington to take legal steps against
those insulting religion.
Sadek, who heads a group called the National American Coptic Assembly,
told Reuters last week that he promoted the film to highlight
discrimination toward Copts in Egypt, a reference to some opening
scenes of the film about that issue.
Speaking from the United States, he also said he was sorry about the
death of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya in an
assault on the Benghazi consulate, but added anyone who objected to
the film should do so peacefully.
The seven Copts and Jones will also be tried over accusations they
sought to divide Egypt, where about 10 percent of the 83 million
population is Christian.
Christians in the country have long complained about discrimination in
the workplace and laws such as those that make it harder to build a
church than a mosque. Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi,
has pledged to treat all Egyptians fairly.
Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox church condemned insults to Islam and
condemned some Copts abroad who they say financed the film.
Highlighting how Egypt’s judiciary deals with such cases, a Copt in
the Sohag region south of Cairo was jailed for six years on Tuesday,
three of them for insulting the prophet and Islam, the state news
Bishoi Kameel, an English teacher, was convicted for publishing
pictures deemed offensive to the prophet on Facebook. He was also
convicted and sentenced for insulting the president and another