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Bible-Burning Egyptian Cleric Jailed for 11 Years

Ahmed Abdullah
Muslim cleric Ahmed Abdullah (front right), also known as Abu Islam, greets supporters as he arrives at court in Cairo on Oct. 14, 2012. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

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A Cairo court sentenced an Egyptian Muslim preacher to 11 years in jail for blasphemy on Sunday for burning a Bible during a protest last year outside the U.S. embassy.

Convictions for insulting Islam are common in Egypt, ruled by Islamists after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, but more rare for cases involving the minority Christian faith.

Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud, known as Abu Islam, who runs his own religious television channel, led a demonstration in September against a U.S.-made anti-Islam video posted on the Internet.

His son was sentenced to eight years in jail for the same offence. Both will remain at liberty pending appeal.

The video's depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as a fool and sexual deviant set off anti-American protests across the Muslim world.

The film was later attributed to a Californian born in Egypt's Coptic Christian community, a group that has expressed concern about the rise of Islamist political power.


Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Janet Lawrence

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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