Egypt court orders ban of ‘anti-Islam’ TV broadcast

Egypt's Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayeb, stands at the Elysee Palace in Paris before a meeting with French President on May 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK

An Egyptian court ruled on Sunday that a television programme deemed contrary to Islamic law should not be broadcast, following a request from the country’s highest institution of Sunni Islam.

Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb of Al-Azhar had demanded that the authorities ban “With Islam,” presented by controversial intellectual reformer Islam Behairy and aired by private channel Al-Qahera Wel Nass.

Al-Azhar accuses Behairy of “regularly attacking Islamic law”.

Although Al-Azhar advocates tolerance and moderate Islam in conferences, it also routinely asks for programmes and shows in which secular Egyptians criticise current Islamic practices or heritage to be banned.

Behairy has infuriated Al-Azhar’s traditional clergy in the past with attacks on canonical religious books and some of Sunni Islam’s most important scholars.

He served a year in prison for “insulting religion” before being released in late 2016 under a presidential pardon.

Behairy can still appeal against the ban on his broadcasts.


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