Behery to remain in jail after legal challenge denied in blasphemy case

Ahram Online , Tuesday 2 Feb 2016

The court had sentenced Behery to one year in prison for 'contempt of religion' for questioning orthodox Islamic beliefs on his now-suspended TV show

Snapshot of Islamic Researcher Islam Behery while hosting his show (with Islam) on privately owned channel Al-Qahera W Al-Nas

Egypt's Al-Gamaleya Misdemeanour Court rejected on Tuesday a legal challenge presented by TV host Islam Behery on his one-year imprisonment over blasphemy charges.

In late December, the court sentenced Behery for “contempt of religion” for questioning orthodox Islamic beliefs on his now-suspended TV show on the Al-Qahera Wal-Nas channel.

Following the announcement of the jail verdict, he was transferred to the Tora Prison compound in South Cairo to serve his sentence.

The verdict can still be appealed, but Behery will remain in jail as long as the court does not set bail.

Behery, a lawyer and Islamic researcher, stirred controversy by providing his understanding of Islamic doctrine and questioning the credibility of some the sources of the Prophet Muhammad's sayings, a prime source of Islamic jurisprudence.

"I was sentenced to a year in jail...Egypt is a land of injustice," Behery wrote on his Facebook at the time of his sentencing in December.

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

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has urged in multiple speeches for the renewal of the religious discourse, in an attempt to ward off Takfiri ideologies that lead to terrorism.

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

Short link: