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Egypt: Islamic cleric suspended from ministry after denouncing Christians and Jews

May 12, 2017

Egyptian authorities have suspended an Islamic preacher from public ministry, after he denounced Christians and Jews as “infidels.”

During a television broadcast, Salem Abdel Galil referred to Christianity and Judaism as “corrupt” faiths, whose practitioners cannot go to heaven. His comments were roundly criticized by other Muslim leaders, who observed that his language was similar to that of radical preachers who had stirred up violence against the country’s Christian minority. In his own defense, Galil said that he believed Christians and Jews hold “corrupt doctrines”—just as Christians and Jews believe that Islamic doctrines are corrupt. He declined to retract his statements.

The Egyptian ministry of religious affairs—where Galil once worked—announced that the preacher could not make television broadcasts or lead public prayers until he apologized for his comments. A television station that had broadcast his sermons, issued its own apology.

Galil also faces criminal charges, under a law against defamation of religious faiths. Naguib Gobrali, a Christian lawyer, filed a complaint, saying that Galil’s words “constitute confessional defamation.” A court will hear the case in June.

 
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  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - May. 15, 2017 6:53 PM ET USA

    Did Dr. Salem Abdel Galil (a scholar at Cairo's Al-Azhar university) base his denunciations (Christians and Jews as 'infidels' and their doctrines as 'corrupt') on Islamic doctrine, the Qur'an and Sunnah? If so, and given that "Article 2 of Egypt's 2014 Constitution declares the principles of Islamic sharia to be the main source of legislation" (Wikipedia) how can Dr. Galil be prosecuted for 'defamation of religious faiths' without undermining Egypt's Constitution and criticizing Islam?

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - May. 13, 2017 5:51 AM ET USA

    We will see the outcome in June, of course, but meantime it is somewhat heartening to see a Muslim country enacting and upholding laws against attacks on Christians and Jews.