Man charged with contempt of Islam given suspended prison term

CAIRO: A man charged with contempt of Islam was handed a suspended sentence of one year in prison and ordered to pay bail of 1,000 EGP ($112) Wednesday, Youm7 reported.

Assayed Youssef was arrested outside Al-Azhar headquarters in Cairo for attempting to burn a widely-respected book on the sayings of Prophet Mohamed in public; Sahih al-Bukhari. He had called on Facebook on March 3 for a protest in the location to burn books of Islamic heritage that “promote extremist ideology,” especially Sahih al-Bukhari.

On March 31, a Cairo misdemeanor court upheld a three-year prison sentence handed to Egyptian writer Fatma Naaout over contempt of religion. On Jan. 26, Naaout was convicted for comments she made in relation to the Islamic ritual of mass sacrifice of sheep or cows, which usually occur during Eid al Adha, to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son.

However, Naaout was not jailed as she was sentenced in absentia; she indicated in an article posted on Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper May 24 that she lives in the United Arab Emirates.

TV anchor Islam Beheiry was sentenced to one year in prison by an appeals court in December, after reducing the term from five years over contempt of religion. He has been criticized over questioning the credibility of sources in the Hadith (Prophet Mohammad’s sayings) the second basic reference for Islamic teachings after the Quran.

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