Expatriate Copts accuse Muslim scholar of blasphemy

Officials submitted a report from the Egyptian Union of Human Rights to state security and called for an investigation into Islamic thinker Mohamed Omara, accusing him of encouraging division between Christians and Muslims.

Several expatriate Coptic organizations and Naguib Gibreal, head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights, referred the report to Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, attorney general. The report targeted Islamic thinker Mohamed Omara, and claimed he was "inciting sectarianism between a united people and committing blasphemy towards a heavenly religion recognized by the Egyptian Constitution – Christianity."

Omara distributed his book with the most recent edition of Al-Azhar magazine, in which he described Christianity as a polytheistic religion and the Bible as an altered book.

Gibrael organized a protest in front of the Supreme Judicial Council, and was joined in the protest by 15 Copts, several of whom were from the Netherlands, the US and Austria. Protesters denounced what they described as aggression against Christians in Egypt. "Christians are denied the right to build churches," Gibrael said.

In response, Omara issued a statement clarifying that his book, "A Scientific Report" was a response to another book by Christian preachers entitled, "Ready to Respond". The Christian book does not have a date of publication or the name of a publishing house listed, although the cover says it was prepared by Samir Morqus. "This book has been seized and investigated by concerned authorities, who referred the book to Al-Azhar Council for Islamic Research," Omara explained.

"Being a member of the council, I was commissioned to check the book and deliver a scientific statement on the book’s content from an Islamic position. I acted as a Muslim defending his religion against a Christianizing publication," that accuses the Quran of lying and denigrates his messenger," he added.

The council approved the statement during a meeting on 25 June, 2009 and voted unanimously to publish it in Al-Azhar Magazine, Omara explained.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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