It took one session on Jan. 10 for a court in the Nile Delta province of Beheira to sentence Karim al-Banna, a 21-year-old student, to three years in prison for saying on Facebook that he was an atheist. The student’s lawyer complained that he was denied the right even to present a defense, but an equally chilling aspect of Mr. Banna’s case is that his father testified against him.
The United States and Saudi Arabia never shared common values. The arrest and flogging of the liberal Saudi blogger Raif Badawi attest to that. But they do share common interests..
Almost 70 years ago, a fading President Franklin Roosevelt, returning from Yalta, held a historic meeting on board a U.S. destroyer with King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia.
Of all the recent calls for reform made by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, perhaps most adamant has been his insistence that all Egyptians—Muslims and Christians—see themselves first and foremost as Egyptians.
This came out very clearly when he visited the St. Mark Coptic Cathedral during Christmas Eve mass. Then, he passionately (see video) declared:
Throughout the 1960s the Egyptian government sponsored a special celebration every July 23 in honor of the children born on that day. In Cairo, the celebration was at the old Rivoli Cinema. The routine was set and unchanging from year to year. It started with the 1 year olds, brought to the stage by their beaming mothers, then 2 year olds, and so on in increasing order of age.
There is only one way to ensure the survival of Iraq’s ancient religious communities: help the locals regain their land and territorial integrity. If they lose this, their only option is to resettle outside Iraq; and likely no amount of humanitarian assistance will prevent their exodus from the area.
Coptic Solidarity 2014 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28, 2014.