Egypt's bible-burning preacher slapped with fresh 3-year sentence

Ahram Online , Monday 15 Jul 2013

Firebrand Islamist preacher Abu Islam gets 3 years in jail for offending Christianity, on top of an 11-year sentence in a similar previous case

Abu Islam
'Bible-burning' Islamist preacher Abu Islam in his way to court surrounded by his supporters (Photo: Ahram)

An Egyptian misdemeanour court sentenced firebrand Islamist preacher Ahmed Abdullah, aka Abu Islam, to three years in jail on Monday for offending Christianity, with bail set at LE 10,000 ($1,425).

Charges against Abu Islam were brought by a lawyer who accused him of blaspheming against Christianity and insulting Coptic Christian women on a satellite channel he owns.

In June, in a separate case, the Islamist preacher was slapped with a suspended 11-year jail sentence and a LE3,000 ($425) fine on charges of insulting religion and burning the bible. He is expected to appeal the sentence on 18 July.

During an 11 September, 2012 rally by ultraconservative Salafists a US-produced anti-Islam film outside the US embassy in Cairo , the Islamist cleric publicly burned copies of the Bible.

Abu Islam told the crowd that he would later send his grandson to urinate on the Bible.

Last year, Abu Islam launched an Islamic TV channel entirely operated by women wearing the full face veil (niqab).

His son, who was complicit in the incident, was also sentenced to eight years in prison and fined LE2,000 ($285).

Amnesty International expressed concerns over a surge of blasphemy cases in Egypt since the ousting of president Hosni Mubarak on February 2011, which it said normally targets Coptic Christians - a 10% minority in Egypt's population of 84 million.

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