Egypt Minister Calls for International Law to Criminalize Contempt of Religion

Egypt Minister Calls for International Law to Criminalize Contempt of Religion

Credit: Reuters
Credit: Reuters

Egypt’s minister for religious endowments called for the issuance of an “international law to criminalise contempt of religion” on Sunday.

A ministry official spoke on behalf of Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa during a conference for world religious leaders in Kazakhstan, the state news agency MENA reported.

Gomaa believes the international law, which he is calling for, should criminalise contempt of religion “without any discrimination.”

Gomaa warned from the use of religion for political or sectarian reasons, making the message of heavenly religions the “fuel of endless conflicts”.

In January, gunmen attacked French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris, killing a dozen people. Over the next two days, five more people were killed in France in related shootings and the attack was the cause for much tension in Europe and globally.

The French newspaper has stirred multiple controversies for the way it has tackled Muslim issues, dating back to 2011 when it showed offensive drawings of Islam’s Prophet Muhammed.

The newspaper’s first issue after the attack also depicting prophet Muhammad was described by Egypt’s top religious institution Al-Azhar as “sick imagination” and “hateful futility”.

Within Egypt, contempt of religion is punishable by law and many people have faced trial in recent years, facing this charge.

A local legal organisation called the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, however, said that “simply…anyone could be presented to court” for publishing an article, images or any material on any of the divine religions if the opinion expressed is different from that of the ruling faction.

An Islamic show host called, Islam al-Beheiry was sentenced to prison in absentia for accusations of being in contempt of religion as recently as last week.

Being found in contempt of religion is punishable by between six months and five years in prison and a fine worth 500 to 1,000 Egyptian pounds.

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  • Frank Atkisson

    Fuck Egypt’s bronze age sentimentalities.

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  • Bystanding witness

    Amazing how “fuck” and “shit” and “shit-load” can stop any decent participant to further comment on such postings. Sad as this is such an important issue. I assume this is the intent of those “eloquent” posters.
    Religion is, has been and should stay an absolute private matter with no involvement from the political Government. It’s as easy as that but especially considering the fact that nobody knows the ultimate truth. Once we’re dead we will know … or maybe not even then. It’s beyond me that someone can be offended or killed or go and kill for something which is simply not to be proven with our today’s human knowledge and means. Equally it’s beyond me that someone can go an absolute offensive rampage (like here in this thread) against those who happen to belief in either religion.
    Everyone should be entitled and allowed to freely express one’s opinion without degrading and faecal vocabulary and without re-writing historical facts in a thread. The same goes for public statements which one must be allowed to make without fearing repression and/or legal actions.
    It’s the basics of living together: respect each other and let each other live by the commonly agreed upon rules of a civil society. Or simply: don’t do unto others …

  • prinefan

    F’k all religions. F’k Gomaa and every insane azzhull like him.

  • Johan Krüger Haglert

    No need too.

    Make laws against killing people and you’re done.

    Of course we should be allowed to ridicule any idea. Including a religion. Especially a politically used and as dangerous intolerant inhumane anti-democratic disbeliever-hating unfair and unequal pile of shit like Islam is.

    The immature small men in the middle east and Africa (and now the west) who haven’t grown up and can’t accept being criticized need to have freedom of speech and religion in their countries and learn to accept that not everyone will think, believe and share their ideas and will and that’s ok.

    Muslims are allowed to criticize other societies and would even be willing to go beyond that.
    Of course we should be and will continue to criticize their shit.

    Criticism isn’t that bad. It lead more knowledge and debate and from that you can get equal grounds and tolerance and understanding. It also let your mind free and let you form your own opinion. Just don’t go around killing people.

    It’s ok to both be and think differently.

    As for Muhammed the whole reason to ridicule the prophet and the jihadists with the paintings is that they try to censor it and don’t accept criticism. It’s a “fuck you you need to tolerate that other people may have different opinions too.”

    Anyone who don’t agree passively take the terrorists side, silently support them and grant some acceptance for their idea and risk those who dare stand up and fight for the freedom and safety.
    Weak leftard media in the west should just had posted ALL the images of the following Charlie Hebro magazine. All of them. Should have had a new picture showing every day in every number. Kinda like the Streissand effect.

    it would show the terrorists that no. If you attack people this is what will happen and we won’t surrender. If the terrorists did nothing then the pictures would be meaningless because then they would just be ridiculing and offensive just to be an ass-hole so to say. Not much value in that. But as long as they are a “no we won’t surrender to terrorism”-message then post them everywhere.

    I actually read the headline as “calls for international law to criminalize constraint of religion” – That I felt was more in line with the current progress in Egypt and their ban of the Muslim brotherhood and global work against IS.

    We don’t need more religious laws, oppression by religion and fear of religious people.
    What we need is less religious ignorance, stupidity and boxed in minds and more freedom.
    Sadly there’s a shitload of Muslims and they are allowed into the west to destroy it. I guess Asia may do better because they are so many. Africa is a wild-card depending on who will control it. I guess the Islamists/jihadists are working harder there than the west. I assume the US is pretty safe too since it has few Muslims and a strong belief in freedom. I don’t know how south America is.

    Muslims need to grow up. I don’t really know whatever any progress of Islam will be tolerated, but if the alternative was to become irrelevant I guess it would do, even the catholic church changes to try to remain relevant, I assume by fundamentalists it won’t just as Christian fundamentalists don’t want to change either. However in a secular society it doesn’t matter and the even better solution would of course be if many of the Muslims become ex-Muslims.

    China has a lot of intelligent educated people who don’t believe in the Abrahamic religions. Must be a nice place (of course they have their own dictatorship instead, but I guess that’s a weaker one and more reform-willing.)

    Anyway. No Egypt. Just no. Those of us born in the free world wouldn’t tolerate it anyway. I can easily post 1000 Muhammed pictures anonymously on the Internet. And then what?

    Just accept that religion is your private matter and if the rules are important for you and you want to follow them then sure. Do it. Don’t enforce your superstitious ignorant bullshit upon others though.
    (Seriously. You don’t believe in trolls, giants, faeries, gnomes, ghosts, dragons and such? Evidence is equally good for those. Also you isn’t a Jew or a Christian mostly because your parents happened to be Muslims? Sure it’s easy to say Christianity is completely retarded and that Jesus being son of God makes no sense but then again wasn’t Muhammed riding a flying horse to God? .. So yeah.. And all those angels. Where are those? I for sure haven’t seen one. Hell is a Greek invention too since they blended in Hades in the bible. The Jews has no hell. Also those three one god religions are middle-eastern and with only stories from and originally a small amount of people in that region.
    Why didn’t god talk to someone in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, East Asia or Oceania? Those had their own religions and they are no less good or less true than yours. If you decide the Norse, Roman, Greek, Hindu gods are all BS then why are your stuck with your own BS god?)

    Stalin or whomever was right. Religion is the opium of the masses. Restrictions of what you can say and get to know just make your more stupid and more of a sheep. I guess the ruling elite whatever communists or islamists like that but yeah. No benefit in that.

    Fuck anything and anyone against personal freedom.

    The people in the secular democracies don’t go around killing each other for religious reasons. Except for the few lunatic Muslims imported into their societies who don’t play by the rules. The whole idea is always so wrong. Arabs or whatever trying to tell us we’ve got something to learn from them: Go look at what works. What are the safest places on the planet? Who are the richest? Who lives freest?

  • JMC

    Muhammad is a fag. Fuck Muhammad and fuck Allah!

  • dana daddee

    um, no.

  • Victoria McGuire

    fuck them and there religion

  • lyndon_rm

    Like blasphemy laws in Pakistan, this kind of law is essentially a negation of human rights and invites abuse from sectarianism and hatred.

    • Johan Krüger Haglert

      Yeah. The “right to not be offended” isn’t a right. It’s an anti-right =P

      If you weight “offended” vs “killed” then most westerners would say that the right one is worse =P

      It’s not even “an eye for an eye”, but I guess that’s what happen when you get religious/political intolerant laws who can’t allow opposition.

      If someone felt offended I’d say it would be somewhat ok for them to offend back. But let it stop with non-physical confrontation please 🙂

  • Robert

    The mid east stir has to go through the informative age and the industrial revolution. The people are poor poorly educated and afraid. And that is what not blasphemy would blast out of the water or sands if you like. Rich princes living on graft and coruption

  • Anonymous Coward

    Ok, let’s have it fair then. I want every single bastard imam who criticized christians and jews openly on LOUDSPEAKERS every Friday prosecuted for the same charge.

    • vladtepesblog

      And that will never happen. Islam believes that as mohamed was the last prophet, he abrogated all previous religious thought. Therefore, as all religion is for allah, all criticism of other faiths is obligatory and all criticism of islam is criminal. This is how they think and operate. Our failure to understand this is our undoing. We already see it in the US, Europe etc.

      • Johan Krüger Haglert

        And the Jews consider him a false prophet and it’s their religion from the beginning so maybe we should just listen and follow on with what the Jews would see would be the safest solution ;D

        Anyway. Any demands from Muslims should just be ignored and run over because they (rather Islam) don’t tolerate or grant any rights for anyone else.

      • Minymina

        Fun fact – after entering Egypt, the prophet Mohamed actually tolled the monks of Saint Catherine’s Monastery to stay. In Islam, it is beloved that people of other Abrahamic religions are friends of the Muslims.

        Then came the f**king Salafi’s and the Islamists and ruined everything.

        • vladtepesblog

          Where are you getting your fun facts from? Here are some less fun facts. Mohamed invaded and conquered Egypt. He didn’t offer them a chance to convert. He also passed laws that no new non-muslim places of worship could be built, nor repaired if damaged, even on purpose, by muslims. He created a life of fear and slavery for non-muslims in their own land.

          Here is a fun fact, Places with no muslims are infinitly more fair, more peaceful and less problematic than places where there are muslims unless they have totally taken over and killed or chased away everyone else. Then its just a sit hole but not violent per se except for all the beheading and amputations. A fun fact would be a way to get rid of islam.

          • Astonishing ignorance, Vlad. Don’t you ever read?

          • vladtepesblog

            I love it when critics offer no evidence, no references, no alternate hypothesis but just the usual ad-hominems, ironically of ‘ignorance’ when every single thing i said passes fact checks and is from Islamic scriptures considered to be above reproach by muslims themselves. Read the sharia on new Churches under sharia law and Mohamed’s rule. Its actually common knowledge.

            Muhammed in fact conquered the entire Arabian Peninsula in his own lifetime and he didn’t even start his religion till he was over 50. It was entirely by the sword. This is why the Saudi flag, the first area he conquered successfully, has a sword on its flag. Muslims are not shy about admitting the truth of their history. It is only leftist apologists for it that seem to think it must be represented as a form of spicy-Christianity or something. Islam is not peaceful. It never was and cannot be. The koran is over 50% about obligation to jihad, Read it sometime before you accuse others of not reading. Then try the authoritative hadiths like Bukhari. It has even more demands to jihad for the sake of allah and forcing the religion of mohammed on the world than even the koran does.

            So let me bat this back at you. My “astonishing ignorance” comes with facts, references and researchable claims. You just toss a casual insult hoping it will stick.

  • Minymina

    F**k this guy. Sisi needs to sack this lunatic.

  • Lola Van der Kamp

    Not going to happen in countries that were founded on freedom of religion, including freedom FROM religion.

    • vladtepesblog

      It is happening. Check UN resolution 16/18 and in fact Hillary Clinton signed off on it for the USA. She admitted that the US 1st amendment made criminalizing defamation of islam problematic, but said the govt, could seek out and shame those who did and they did. Both Terry Jones was treated criminally by the Obama admin while he was exercising his constitutional rights, and the admin also arrested a film maker for making a movie about the pirate mohamed claiming it was responsible for an Al Qaeda attack in Libya, when they knew at the time it was not.

      • Lola Van der Kamp

        Even if that were true it won’t hold up in the Supreme Court.

        • vladtepesblog

          What a pity that all the muslims who have attacked people they disagree with, successfully like in Paris or unsuccessfully like in Texas do not care what the supreme court says and will eventually attack them for the crime of ‘shirk’. A capital offence in islam.

          It is down to us. We have to make decisions and decide what we value enough to defend.

          • Johan Krüger Haglert

            Yeah. And the problem is that the west won’t be ok with attacking all Muslims because of that.

            So people will have to accept to be terrorized with no means of defense.

            It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for stupid ideas of multiculturalism and open borders.

            I have much more trust in the US though. Like their second Muhammed contest “everyone bring guns!” Sure they could still be attacked. But they could also defend.

      • Johan Krüger Haglert

        It should never had made it into the human rights (rather inhumane rights) but those ones are becoming seriously bloated.

        “Let everyone be.” would be enough. It’s super-bloated.

        Anyway AFAIK they aren’t juridically binding. And of course the Islamic countries has instead signed the “Cairo declaration of human-rights in Islam” which totally isn’t the same thing but rather Sharia laws. So some of them like Saudi-Arabia haven’t signed and don’t care for the UN human-rights. And for instance of course IS won’t.

    • Johan Krüger Haglert

      I wouldn’t say so.

      Sweden is flooded by a shit-load of immigrants including Muslims and Sweden do absolutely nothing to fight the Islamization because one completely buy into the “Islamophobia” bullshit and protection of hateful minorities even though those are the problem. Islamophobia is Islamorealism and only exist because the terrorists exists. Attacks based on Islam is real. There’s nothing phobic about that.

      Doesn’t take all that many very dedicated minds to ruin freedom even by law (and just one to do it in local reality.)

      The problem is rather the opinions like yours. Where people take freedom for granted and assume everyone wants it. Everyone doesn’t and it’s not a thing you get for free and don’t have to fight for. In Europe maybe one haven’t had to for a short while but that will be challenged by the Muslim immigration.

      Whatever dictatorship will win is a different story.

      The US I trust more and Australia also seem to be harsh even though it’s a country with lots of immigrants and AFAIK also Muslim immigrants but they are expected to play by the rules or leave. Canada is even willing to deport second generation immigrants!

      Islam isn’t tolerant or liberal so it doesn’t really deserve to demand anything such.
      Our western societies grant it more freedom than it deserves. But criticism.. Yeah. It should and need to happen or the freedom will be gone.

      And that’s the case in Egypt too of course. Doing it like he suggest just remove freedom for those who want to fight religious fundamentalism.

      With that said good luck to all PEOPLE in Egypt and the middle-east who want to live and allow other people to live free individualistic lives in whatever way they want too.

      “Live and let live” beats any more complicated ideology. Everyone wins if those laws where to be followed.


Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy.

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