Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The Egyptian government has no intention to cancel or modify the law that punishes blasphemy. The counselor and representative of the Egyptian Ministry of Justice, Ayman al Rafah, responding to questions from the parliamentary Committee on the presentation of a bill to abolish the controversial criminal article, reported that the so-called anti-blasphemy law protects aspects of the life of the various religious communities that are not taken into account by other articles of the criminal code, does not undermine the freedom of thought and still represents a guarantee with respect to the phenomena and acts capable of unleashing sectarian hatred.
The question - refer Egyptian sources consulted by Agenzia Fides - will continue to be considered by relevant parliamentary bodies, which will probably also urge the Islamic University of Al-Azhar and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate to make its assessments regarding the disputed law.
The law which punishes the public defamation of religion (Article 98 § E of the Penal Code) has also been used recently to begin trials of public figures such as writer Fatima Naoot or TV presenter Islam el Beheiry. But in the name of the same law four Coptic students were accused of offending the Islamic religion by publishing in the Spring of 2015 a video-clip lasting a few seconds in which the boys mimed a throat slitting scene of a Muslim in prayer imitating the horrendous executions by jihadists of the Islamic State (Daesh) (see Fides 08/03/2016). (GV) (Agenzia Fides 13/06/2016)