Award withdrawn from Egyptian intellectual on charges of ‘heresy’

The Board of State Commissioners on Monday withdrew a cultural award from the Egyptian researcher Sayyid al-Qemny after he was convicted of having contempt for religion, judicial sources said.

In June 2009, Qemny was awarded LE200,000 from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for his achievements in social sciences.

A judicial source said the board, which looks into disputes between individuals and state institutions, wrote that "Qemny’s writings violated the Quran and the Sunnah, scorned the prophets and insulted God.”

The report also said "the State Merit Award in Social Sciences is granted from taxpayers’ money, not from businessmen, and thus should not be squandered on renegades from God and his teachings. Instead, the people should benefit from it in the form of public services.”

Islamist lawyers had sued the Ministry of Culture for granting Qemny the award.

The 64-year-old Egyptian writer is controversial for his writings on Islam’s history and his criticism of contemporary Islamic movements.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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