New Reports Reveal Global Persecution of Nonbelievers
“How do I know who the true God is?”
Alber Saber Ayad’s question was answered by the Egyptian government last week when the 27-year-old computer science student was convicted for “contempt of religion” in Cairo. Saber was taken into custody on September 13 by the police after an enraged mob stormed his house, beating him and threatening his mother, a Coptic Christian. Saber was rumored to be circulating the Innocence of Muslims film trailer on his Facebook page. In a video blog, he spoke of the importance of exercising critical reasoning about religious matters.
While in custody, Saber was slashed in the throat by razor-wielding prisoners after a guard told them of his “crime” and he was compelled to give false statements. The legal charges were “contempt of Islam and Christianity,” “insulting the divine,” and “satirizing religious rituals and sanctities and prophets” under articles 98, 160, and 161 of the Egyptian Penal Code.
According to Egypt News Daily, the prosecution first sought to charge him in connection with disseminating Innocence of Muslims but when this accusation was proven false, they revised their strategy to target the content of Saber’s video blog. Though sentenced to three years and released on bail he was subsequently locked up due to a clerical error before being released on December 17