Two Coptic children from the Beni Suef village in Egypt were arrested this week on blasphemy charges after they allegedly desecrated a Koran, the English-language Egyptian news site Ahram Online reported on Wednesday.
The children, Nabil Nady Rizk, 9, and Mina Nady Farag, 10, were said to be illiterate by their father, who claimed they therefore had no idea that they were desecrating the holy book. The Egypt Independent reported that the children urinated on two copies of the Koran.
Both reports stated that a village religious leader first approached a local Christian leader to request that he discipline the youths, but then filed a complaint against the children with legal authorities.
The Egypt Independent also reported that on Monday a Coptic teacher, Nevine al-Sayed, was interrogated by authorities after one of her students accused her of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. She was later released and fled her home for fear of violence against her.
The same report said that Egypt has seen an influx of blasphemy charges — as many as 17 — since the production and publication of the controversial video clip “Innocence of Muslims” on the internet.
Insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad is considered a crime in Egypt, and according to the report, sentences can range from several months’ to six years’ imprisonment.
Earlier this month, Ahram Online reported, a Coptic teacher was handed a six-year jail sentence after he posted on Facebook cartoons that were said to be defamatory toward the Prophet Muhammad, Islam, and Egypt’s President Muhammad Morsi.