Arbitrary Arrests Inflame Egypt's Sectarian Tensions

Voice of the Copts receives and publishes Mr. Hal M. Meawad’s reply to Joseph Mayton http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=24196

Dear editor and Mr. Joseph Mayton,

In your subject article (link above), you stated "Both Christians and Muslims are likely to face detention or interrogation for proselytizing," This is a false statement.  Muslims do it freely on every street corner, on public transportation, at work place, etc.  Books and leaflets promoting Islam and/or insulting non-Muslims and their faith are sold or handed out with no interference or restrictions.  A non-Muslim could convert to Islam officially in a matter of minutes and he/she will be celebrated.  Non-Muslims could not do any of these things.  They are not allowed a chance to defend themselves or their faith by answering widely distributed false literature and statements. 

Conversion from Islam (apostacy) is not allowable and usually results in arrest, torture at the hands of the security forces, and long detention if not out right murder.  

Attacking Coptic Christians and their churches, monasteries, homes and properties in Egypt lately became the favorite national sport and rarely a single week goes by without a major attack or murder with total impunity.  As a face saving practice, sometimes and not always, the security forces arrest some of the attackers but they also arrest some the victims and force them to concede their rights and drop the charges.  Only then detainees from both sides are released regardless of injuries and losses suffered by the Copts. 

This tragic scenario has been repeated numerous times.  Just as an example, in January of 2000, 21 Copts have been murdered in the village of Kosheh in 3-4 hours and there was no/no single conviction.

I will be happy to hear back from you and ready to provide additional information.

Truly,

Hal M. Meawad

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