Egypt releases Salafist held for insulting Christianity


Brotherhood justice: Capital punishment for anyone who insults Islam, and release on bail for anyone who attacks any other religion.

Did judges give in to pressure of hardliners?

CAIRO - A controversial Egyptian Islamist was freed on bail on Monday after he was held in custody for four days on charges of insulting Christianity, a judicial official said.

Ahmed Abdullah, an extremist preacher also known as Abu Islam, was arrested after Coptic Christian activist Nagib Gibrail accused him of insulting Christianity on a television show.

He was held for four days on orders of the state prosecutor and released on bail of 20,000 Egyptian pounds (around $3,000), the judicial official said.



The grey-bearded preacher has gained a reputation for extremist and outlandish statements against Christians and liberal opponents.


Abdullah is already on trial on separate charges of tearing apart a bible during protests outside the US embassy in September 2012 when several Muslim countries were rocked by often violent demonstrations against an anti-Islam film produced in the United States.

One of the bail conditions imposed on Monday was that Abdullah attends hearings of that trial.

A court last month upheld death sentences for seven Egyptian Coptic Christians who live in the United States and were accused of producing "Innocence of Muslims," the anti-Islam movie that insulted the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

Egyptian law forbids insults against religion, allowing police in the past to arrest Shiite Muslims and Christians for alleged slights against Islam.