Columnist appeals 3 yr prison term over insulting religion
Columnist Fatma Naoot

CAIRO: Columnist Fatma Naoot appealed a three-year prison sentence she received Tuesday for “insulting religion,” after she was accused of mocking Islamic rite of animal slaughtering on her Facebook page in 2014.

Naoot’s sentence is a primary ruling that can be appealed, according to her lawyer Sherif Adeeb, who is waiting for court’s release of verdict reasoning so he can respond to them.

The famous columnist was seen convicted by the court Tuesday over the aforementioned charge that has recently sent a TV presenter and Islamic Scholar, Islam Beheiry to one year in prison.

Beside the jail term, Naoot was fined 20,000 EGP ($2,550.)

On her Facebook, Naoot described the ritual as “the biggest massacre;” she told The Cairo Post “it is strange to be tried over Facebook posts.”

After she was faced with criticism by social media users, Naoot clarified that the metaphor was not meant to mock the Islamic rite, and that discussing the issue is not a violation of Islamic Law.

Meanwhile, TV anchorperson Beheiry is also standing appeal hearings against his one-year jail sentence over the blasphemy, after he questioned credibility of sources of Hadith (Prophet Mohammad’s sayings,) the second basic reference for Islamic teachings after the Quran, during his TV show “With Islam.”

The recent court referrals, however, came after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s call for a “religious revolution” that aims to review religious thoughts that were sanctified for hundreds of years to “confront the misleading ideologies harming Islam and Muslim worldwide.”

The charge of “contempt of religion” was criticized for vagueness and broad meaning, not only by rights groups, but also by Islamic scholars.

Article 98F of the Egyptian Penal Code stipulates that using religion in talking, writing or by any method to “instigate sedition and division or disdain and contempt for any of the Abrahamic religions or sects belonging thereto” will be sentenced to not less than six months and up to five years in prison.

Additional reporting by Ahmed Ismail and Nourhan Magdi

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