(An Egyptian Copt watches a celebration of the Feast of Assumption in Dronka village, outside Assiut, 400 km (310 miles) south of Cairo August 21, 2008. REUTERS/Amr Dalsh )

An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced a 17-year-old Christian boy to three years in jail for publishing cartoons on his Facebook page that mocked Islam and the Prophet Mohammad, actions that sparked sectarian violence.

Gamal Abdou Massoud was also accused of distributing some of his cartoons to his school friends in a village in the southern city of Assiut, home to a large Christian population and the hometown of the late Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda.

“Assiut child’s court ordered the jailing of Gamal Abdou Massoud … for three years after he insulted Islam and published and distributed pictures that insulted Islam and its Prophet,” the court said in a statement seen by Reuters.

The cartoons, published by Massoud in December, prompted some Muslims to attack Christians. Several Christian houses were burned and several Christians were injured in the violence.