RELIGION

Egyptian Christian students stand trial for insulting Islam

An Egyptian lawyer says three Coptic Christian students face charges of insulting Islam and will stand trial this week after appearing in a video mocking Muslim prayers.

Maher Naguib, a lawyer from the southern city of Minya, told The Associated Press Monday that the students, all in high school, will stand trial on Thursday. The students' teacher, also a Christian, was tried separately over the same charges. He fled the town and was sentenced to three-years imprisonment in absentia last year. Naguib said he will appeal.

The students appeared in a video pretending to pray and reciting Quranic verses. Christians make up 10 percent of Egypt's population.

Egypt has witnessed a surge in blasphemy charges in recent months at a time when President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed to modernize religious discourse.