On Wednesday, May 28, 2014, Kyrolous Shawky became the center of a firestorm. Shawky works for a shop in Armant, Egypt (outside of Luxor). Shawky was looking at Facebook on his mobile phone and liked a page named “Knights of the Cross.” A Muslim neighbor saw a post from this page and accused Shawky of posting pictures and quotes that were insulting to Islam.
Muslims in the area rose up and attempted to take revenge on Shawky. When the police came, they arrested Shawky instead. He was charged with blasphemy.
“Publications were distributed demanding the upheaval against Kyrolous,” Rafla Zekry Rafla, the lawyer representing Kyrolous and president of the Human Rights Commission of the Luxor Bar Association, told ICC. “Many Muslims gathered in the front of Kyrolous’s home and attempted to storm it to take revenge on him, and they were chanting slogans against Christians, insulting them, but the police came and arrested Kyrolous and were able to disperse the gathered angry people,” Rafla said.
The violence did not end with his arrest. Early morning, June 2, a mob gathered to set fire to Christian shops in protest of the trial. An official reported that he saw the mob throw gasoline bombs at the shops.
A woman who lived on that same street as Shawky told International Christian Concern that there were fanatics that were going to attack Christian homes but the moderate Muslims of the village intervened. She also said that Christians in the village have been prevented from gathering together to pray (the village does not have a church).
Copts United claims that six people that were arrested for inciting violence against the Copts and encouraging the burning of their houses were released.
Safwat Samaan, a human rights activist, claims that Shawky was tortured during the investigation and that he had no lawyer present.
Shawky’s trial date was June 3, 2014 but has since been postponed until June 24, 2014.
International Christian Concern
Daily News Egypt