Decree prohibiting insulting Egypt’s flag
Egypt’s flag - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Insulting Egypt’s flag is punishable by up to a year in prison and 30,000 EGP ($4,190,) according to a Saturday presidential decree.

It also prohibited use of the flag as part of a trademark, display, its distribution if it is damaged, adding any phrases, pictures or designs to it, or half-mast it except for a national mourning. The decree also stipulates that people should stand up in respect for the national anthem.

Some Muslim Brotherhood supporters were filmed torching and stepping on the Egyptian flag in a number of protests following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Members of parliament and members of the 2012 constituent assembly from the Salafi Nour Party refused to stand up for the national anthem inside the parliament in June 2012, and also refused to stand up to mourn Pope Shenouda in March 2012.

Nader Bakar, Nour Party spokesperson, told Dream 2 TV in June 2012 that Nour Party parliamentarians’ choice to not stand up for the national anthem was “not important.”

“Everyone is free to do what he wants, and I am not authorized to comment on this matter. As for me, I previously stood up twice for the national anthem,” Bakar said.

Yasser Borhamy, deputy head of the Salafi Call, released a fatwa in February 2012 that stipulates that standing up for mourning is not part of Sharia and that people “should pray for the dead instead.”

“Why are we pressured and attacked in this matter? It is not patriotism to stand up for mourning. We demand respect for our approach, what we do does not insult national figures,” Borhamy told Dosor Asly news website in September 2013.

Saeed Abdel Azim, member of the Council of Secretaries of the Salafi Call, whose political wing is the Nour Party, told Dostour Asly that “it is not obligatory to stand up for the national anthem, it is just a custom.”

“You do not stand up for Quran when you hear it, so how come we stand up for the national anthem or mourning? For instance, before inventing the national anthem, did people not love their homelands?” Azim said.

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