Legal case against controversial Muslim scholar for defaming Christianity

Ekram Ibrahim , Monday 19 Mar 2012

Outspoken Islamic figure Wagdy Ghoneim, who lives in exile, released an online video calling all Copts 'infidels'

Wagdy Ghoneim, Islamic scholar.

With Coptic Christians currently going through several days of mourning for the late Pope Shenouda III, Muslim scholar Wagdy Ghoneim caused controversy by uploading a video defaming the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church and calling him the "head of infidels."

The video was seen by more than 150,000 viewers within the first 24 hours of being uploaded and has caused rage among many Copts, especially those who are active online.

Three lawyers, Saeed Fayez, Tharwat Bakhit and Nabil Ghobrail have filed a complaint with the attorney general against Sheikh Wagdy Ghoneim for what they called defaming Christianity.

"There was no consideration whatsoever as to what the Copts are going through. This is a kind of hate speech," Nabil Ghobrail told Ahram Online.

Ghoneim accused Pope Shenouda III of inciting sectarian violence in Egypt by declaring that Muslims are occupying Egypt; he also accused him of having plans to challenge Muslims' faith. The Muslim scholar, who lives outside Egypt, also labelled all Copts "infidels".

In June of last year, business tycoon Naguib Sawiris was been sent to trial after lawyer Mamdouh Ismail filed a case against him accusing him of disrespecting Islam.  The Coptic Christian businessman had posted cartoons depicting characters in Islamic clothing on his official Twitter account.

In February 2012, Egyptian film star Adel Imam was sentenced in absentia to three months in jail with hard labour and a fine of LE1,000 for "defaming Islam" in some of the roles he has played.

Pope Shenouda III passed away on Saturday evening at the age of 88. His funeral is set for Tuesday.

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