Bible-burning Egyptian Islamist freed on bail

AFP, Ahram Online, Monday 25 Feb 2013

Islamist preacher accused of insulting Christians released on LE20,000 bail

Controversial Egyptian Islamist Ahmed Abdullah, known as Abu-Islam, was freed on bail on Monday after he was held in custody for four days on charges of insulting Christianity, a judicial official said.

Abu-Islam, a fiery preacher, was arrested after Coptic Christian activist Nagib Gibrail accused him of insulting Christianity on a television show.

On saturday, prosecution ordered the detention of Abu-Islam for four days after he allegedly described Coptic Christian women as “whores” on his satellite television programme.

He was released Monday on bail of 20,000 Egyptian pounds (around $3,000), the judicial official said.

The grey-bearded preacher has gained a reputation for extremist and outlandish statements against Christians and liberal opponents.

Abdullah is already on trial on separate charges of tearing apart a bible during protests outside the US embassy in September 2012 when several Muslim countries were rocked by often violent demonstrations against an anti-Islam film produced in the United States.

One of the bail conditions imposed on Monday was that Abdullah attends hearings of that trial.

A court last month upheld death sentences in-absentia for seven Egyptian Coptic Christians who live in the United States and were accused of producing "Innocence of Muslims," the anti-Islam movie that insulted the Prophet Mohamed.

Egyptian law forbids insults against religion, allowing police in the past to arrest Shiite Muslims and Christians for alleged slights against Islam.

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