Egyptian prosecutors are investigating allegations that an Iraqi man, who owns a television channel operating in Egypt, has been promoting Shiism.
Ali El-Kazemy, who reportedly holds a Dutch passport, is also accused of illegally airing media content via the internet without a licence, and of managing the channel’s headquarters without authorisation.
According to Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website, the channel was discovered following several complaints filed with the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU).
Anti-Shia sentiments have been aired by some sections of Egyptian society recently, with Salafist groups raising fears about the “spread” of the Islamic denomination in Egypt following a new thaw in diplomatic ties with Shiite-majority state Iran.
On 13 May, member of the Salafist Nour Party Tharwat Attallah stirred controversy by stating that “the Shias are more dangerous than naked [women]."
Attallah’s comment came during a meeting between members of the cultural committee of the Shura Council during a discussion about Iranian tourism to Egypt, with some expressing fears that it could spread Shiism in the country.
In April, more than 50 Iranians – the first official group of Iranians to visit Egypt for tourism in decades – arrived in Upper Egypt amid tight security. The visit came as part of a bilateral tourism agreement signed in February.