Egypt’s State Lawsuit Authority has called on the Administrative Court to reject a suit filed by Al-Azhar's Grand Imam, Ahmed El-Tayeb, against the prime minister and the investment minister demanding they stop broadcasting a controversial TV show, arguing they do not have the power to do so.
On 1 April, the Grand Imam of El-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayeb filed a complaint calling for Prime Minister Ibrahim El-Mahlab and Investment Minister Ashraf Salman to stop broadcasting Islam El-Beheiry’s TV programme “With Islam” and to ban him from appearing in the media, over accusations of “twisting Islam”.
The State Lawsuit Authority, the legal entity responsible for defending the state in lawsuits filed against the government, has submitted a legal memorandum to the court saying that the complaint is filed against "irrelevant entities", as the investment minister and prime minister do not control broadcasting.
The General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) is the sole entity responsible for giving broadcasting permits, and only Egyptian satellite broadcasting company Nile SAT have the power to stop the broadcasting of a programme or a satellite TV channel, stated the memorandum.
In April, GAFI issued a decision to halt the broadcast of El-Beheiry’s programme, and the presenter wrote on his Facebook page on 22 April that the programme had been suspended due to "disputes with the channel."
The Administrative Court is to take a decision in the case, which may or may not support the previous GAFI decision, on 31 May.
On 18 April, El-Beheiry confronted a representative from Al-Azhar on TV.
El-Beheiry's show has previously tackled several controversial issues relating to Islam, including punishment for apostasy, early marriage, and different interpretations of the Hadith, the sayings and teachings of Islam's Prophet Muhammed.