In Egypt, Man Sentenced to Death for Murdering a Priest

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    The unidentified man murdered Coptic Christian Priest Arsanios Wadid, 56, who was killed as he walked with youngsters from his parish in the Sidi Bishr district of the Alexandria Corniche, a seaside promenade, on the 7th of April. People who were walking by shook the killer after witnessing the murder of Wadid and then handed the man over to the local police.

    His official name was “Priest of the Church of the Virgin Mary and Mar Boulos.” He was the head of his own parish located in Alexandria's Karmouz neighborhood in Alexandria's Meharam Bek district, according to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

    “The Alexandria Criminal Court submitted to the Mufti of the Republic the name of the convicted man who was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter [of Wadid] after a psychological expert declared him ‘responsible for his acts', according to the legal procedure,” Africanews published the news on May 19th.

    The term “mufti” is an Islamic Jurisconsult that is used by Muslims in Egypt in the context of the legal system. It is founded in Islamic law, also known as the sharia. The constitution of Egypt states the following: “Islam is the religion of the state … and the principles of Islamic sharia are the main sources of legislation.”

    “The “Mufti of the Republic” that was mentioned in Africanews on Thursday is likely to make the decision on the death sentence imposed on Wadid's killer “at a hearing on 11 June, but it is usually a formality in Egypt, the third most executed [sic] country in the world according to Amnesty International.”

    A decision by the Alexandria Criminal Court to hold an unknown murderer responsible for the killing of the Coptic Christian priest last month is noteworthy in Egypt where the minorities of the Coptic Christian community are often marginalized by the official Islamic state.

    “Copt” is used to mean either a member in Egypt's “indigenous Christian ethno-religious community” or an adherent to the Coptic Orthodox Church that is Egypt's biggest Christian organization, as per Encyclopedia Britannica. Copts make up between 10 to 15 percent of Egypt's total population of 103 million and are the largest Christian group within Egypt and the Middle East.

    “They [Copts] feel they have been left out of many positions [in Egypt] and deplore the fact that [Egyptian] legislation is very restrictive for the construction of churches and much more liberal for mosques,” Africanews noted on May 19th.

    “Copts have suffered reprisals from radical Islamists, particularly after the army overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, burning churches, schools and homes,” according to the news agency.

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