Egypt’s Adel Imam Found Guilty

The most popular comedian in Egypt, Adel Imam has been found guilty of Insulting Islam. The verdict of the comedian for offending Islam was upheld in a Cairo court on Wednesday. It raised fears with liberals and secularists in Egypt that Islamic tide is increasing in the country since former President Mubarak was removed from power in 2011.

Imam is one of the Arab world’s most well known actors. He was convicted originally in February for contempt of religion, which is illegal in the penal code of Egypt. He appealed his conviction at that time. Asran Mansour, an Islamist lawyer, who is ultra-conservative, brought the charges against Imam. The charges were based on three movies Imam made back in the 1990’s.

Imam, now 71, played a terrorist in the first movie, and a businessman, who was corrupt in the third movie. The lawyer accused the actor of blasphemous mocking of symbols representing Muslim such as beards and the loose fitting robe known as jilbab.

Imam’s sentence is three months behind bars and 1000 pounds (Egyptian), which is equivalent to about $170. Imam’s lawyers said they would appeal. One of his lawyers said that surveillance authorities certified Imam’s films before they were released in the 1990s.

From Egypt’s artists to others around the world, condemnations of the verdict poured in. The Creativity Front of Egypt said the court’s ruling limits the freedom to express and would lead to a restriction throughout the art world. One author said he does not agree politically with Imam however, the ruling by the court has returned Egypt to the darkness of the days of the Middle Ages.

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