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Egypt appeal court upholds 1-year sentence for TV host Behery in contempt of religion case

Behery, an Islamic researcher, has been charged for statements he made questioning the credibility of some of the sources of Prophet Muhammad's sayings

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Sunday 31 Jul 2016
Islam Behery
Egyptian TV host Islam Behery (Photo:Facebook page)
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An Egypt appeal court upheld on Sunday a one-year sentence against TV host Islam Behery on charges of "contempt of religion."

Behery, an Islamic researcher, has been charged and convicted based on statements he made on his once popular show providing his own understanding of Islamic doctrine.

The 42-year-old Behery questioned on his show the credibility of some sources of Prophet Muhammad's sayings -- a prime source of Islamic jurisprudence, insisting Muslims are bound only to text of the Quran.

In May 2015, Behery received a five-year sentence which was reduced on appeal to one-year last December.

He has been in prison since his initial conviction.

Behery has repeatedly argued that he only aims to contribute to the renewal of religious discourse in order to protect Islamic theology from the dangers presented by ultra-conservative jihadist interpretations.

The programme, With Islam, which aired on the private Al-Kahera wal Nas satellite channel for over a year, was suspended in 2015 following criticism by Al-Azhar of its content and calls for its cancellation.

Al-Azhar, the world's highest seat of Sunni Islam, demanded authorities cancel the the show, charging Behery was leading a "fierce campaign" against the foundations of Islam and Islamic legacy.

The show was eventually cancelled after the channel said that it “does not encourage debates or programmes that stir divisions among Muslims and lead to tensions and strife.”

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