"We are no less than Jews who defend their religion," Egypt minister

Ahram Online, Saturday 29 Sep 2012

Egypt's minister of religious endowments says Muslims are no less than Jews who never tolerate any insult directed at their religion; Afifi also condemning use of violence to defend Prophet Mohammed

Minister of Endowment Talaat Afify said Muslims are no less than "Jews" who, when insulted, "get up in arms and accuse insulatorsof anti-Semitism," referring to a recent anti-Islam film and offensive cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed.

In a speech in a conference held Saturday in the city of Beni Suef, Upper Egypt, Afifi also condemned defending the Prophet Mohammed by "extremism, violence and torching embassies." These methods, according to him, do nothing but inflame an already explosive situation.

"That's why we had approached the UN to swiftly pass legislations criminalising blasphemy and sacrilegious acts to religious figures.

Early in September, an American-made movie portraying the Prophet Mohammed as a womaniser and a fool sparked a torrent of anti-American unrest in Egypt, Libya and dozens of other Muslim countries over the past two weeks, resulting in attempt to storm the US Embassy in Egypt and the death of the US ambassador to Libya.

Days later, obscene cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed naked were issued in the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo which further inflamed tension across the Muslim world.

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