Rev Fernando Alconga has been found guilty of "Abusing Islam, and Christian missionary activity", but has been given a suspended sentence.
Fernando Piedad Alconga, a Filipino Christian serving in the United Arab Emirates, was arrested for distributing Christian literature on 12 November 2002. After being held in prison for over a month he was released on bail. His first court hearing was on Sunday 16 February and the witness, an Egyptian to whom he had given the literature, testified that he was not pressured by Rev Alconga in any way. Subsequently a report was commissioned to answer the question "Do the materials given by Rev Alconga to an Egyptian man in November 2002 defame Islam or not?" At his final hearing on Sunday 27 April Middle East Concern reports that the judge found him guilty of "Abusing Islam, and Christian missionary activity", but has suspended the sentence for three years.
Traditional Islamic law holds that a Muslim who converts to another faith is committing a terrible crime against Islam and should be put to death. As a result, most Islamic countries are very severe in restricting anything that could be construed as mission, evangelism or promoting the Christian faith to Muslims. This stands even in states like the UAE, widely considered one of the most moderate Muslim countries, and even when Christians simply live out their faith in an open and sensitive way and do not engage in anything that could be considered as aggressive proselytism. Rev Fernando Alconga always made it clear that he was offering Christian material and asked for the recipient's consent.