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Egypt TV presenter Islam El-Beheiry criticises 'blasphemy' verdict

El-Beheiry's programme tackled 'heritage, not religion', says the TV host

Ahram Online , Monday 1 Jun 2015
Islam El-Beheiry
A screen shot from Islam El-Beheiry's show on Al-Qahera Wal Nal TV channel.
Views: 2559
Views: 2559

Egyptian TV presenter Islam El-Beheiry has criticised a five-year jail sentence issued against him on Saturday on charges of "blasphemy" linked to a controversial show he used to present about Islam.

The charges of blasphemy were “strange” as he had tackled “heritage, not religion” in his show With Islam, he said in a phone interview with private TV channel CBC on Monday.

The programme, previously broadcast on private TV channel Al-Qahera Wal-Nas, did not insult religion, but rather “defended” it, he claimed.

Now off air, El-Beheiry's show tackled several controversial topics, such as punishment for apostasy, early marriage, and different interpretations of the Hadith, the sayings and teachings of Islam's Prophet Muhammed.

Up to 48 complaints have been filed against him, El-Beheiry told CBC.

In one case filed by lawyer Mohamed Abdel Salam, an Egyptian misdemeanors court sentenced the TV presenter to five years in jail on Saturday, but the ruling could be appealed in front of the Cairo Court of Appeal.

In early April, Al-Azhar, the country's leading Sunni Islam institute, filed another complaint against El-Beheiry’s show with the Free Media Zone, the state department in charge of managing cable TV channel contracts.

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03-06-2015 07:35pm
Why is clarifying religion a crime, and disputation of texts is healthy, prevents abuse
I read about him for the first time and was impressed. So I am searching for more information about him, to counter those who say Islam is backward. He sounds like the man who is needed right now. Challenging misconceptions and updating the relevancy of religious values is the most essential activity right now. Spiritual truth has always required intuition and interpretation within a context, despite those who blindly want to use words like a weapon. Mercy and compassion, the two hardest tings for humans to procatice, are the core of EVERY religion. And to practice this, every truly spiritual leader, by this I mean the ones with that light in their eyes of understanding and openness to sinners, will often show meaning of the words that forward justice, or guidance that allows a society to move forward. Early marriage, FGM, blasphemy and apostasy ruling etc are used too often in the interests of power. I am glad he has a following, this should motivate them more to support him
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01-06-2015 08:45pm
What is blasphemy
A measure of small-minded system is aiming all its guns at the weak and defenseless rather than the powerful thugs. If Azhar has the Cojones it would charge the Wahhabis with blasphemy, but of course, this would be courage not pettiness!
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