Egypt to put critic of Muslim ritual of slaughtering sheep on trial

Ahram Online , Saturday 27 Dec 2014

Fatima Naoot described the Eid Al-Adha tradition of slaughtering sheep as the 'greatest massacre committed by human beings,' saying humans use religion to justify their lust for killing

Fatima Naoot
Fatima Naoot (Photo: Courtesy of Fatima Naoot official Facebook page)

Egyptian prosecutors referred Friday journalist and writer Fatima Naoot to a misdemeanors court on charges of disdaining religion, after she was critical of the Muslim Eid Al-Adha tradition of slaughtering sheep.

The trial will start 28 January. 

In October, Naoot described in a post on her Facebook account Eid Al-Adha's tradition of slaughtering sheep as the "greatest massacre committed by human beings."

"[It's] a yearly massacre because a good man once had a nightmare about his good son, and although the nightmare has passed for the good man and his son, the [sheep] pay their lives as a price for that holy nightmare," Naoot's also wrote in an article in the daily El-Masry El-Youm.

During questioning, Naoot, an outspoken secular figure, admitted writing the Facebook post but denied that her aim was to insult Islam. Naoot argued that humans justified their lust for culling and enjoying the smell of cooking game by attempting to bestow a divine meaning to their actions.

Eid Al-Adha is the second of two religious holidays celebrated by Muslims worldwide each year.

It honours the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismail as an act of submission to God’s command, before God intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead.

Legislation which criminalise disdaining religion dates back to the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

The law was added in 1982 to the penal code stipulates prison sentences of 6 months to five years and fines of LE500 to LE1000 to anyone who uses religion to promote, through speech, writing or any other medium, extremist ideas with the aim of spreading discord or to belittle or disdain one of the monotheistic religions or their different sects, or to harm national unity.   

Application of the law significantly rose under the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) 2011 - 2012 and ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi 2012 - 2013.

A report issued by the Egyptian Initiative on Personal Rights (EIPR) in September 2013 revealed that since the 25 January 2011 revolution until the end of 2012, a total of 63 citizens, both Muslims and Christians, were charged with disdaining religion.

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