Lawyers’ group demand Abu Islam’s prosecution

The Egyptian Female Lawyers Initiative staged a vigil outside the Supreme Court Complex Wednesday against Salafi preacher Sheikh Ahmed Abdallah, known as Abu Islam, for his comments that women participating in demonstrations were fair game for sexual assault.

A protester said the group also filed a lawsuit against Abu Islam before the State Council, charging him with defamation of Egyptian women. On Tuesday, the group submitted another complaint against him with the Public Prosecution.

According to the group, Abu Islam made the comments on a show aired by his satellite TV channel al-Umma.

The group said that Abu Islam defamed female protesters by claiming women purposefully went to protests to be sexually harassed. Khaled Abu Kreisha, the group's legal advisor, said 26 of his clients were demanding an investigation into the comments.

Members of the initiative also called for a protest Wednesday outside of the Public Prosecution’s offices.

The prosecutor general has already issued a summons for the hardline preacher charged with contempt of religion.

Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Federation for Human Rights, and activists filed a complaint against Abu Islam, accusing him of calling Coptic women prostitutes.

The complaint also said the country’s Copts are bitter over the absence of justice regarding contempt of Christianity, as Abu Islam appeared in scenes humiliating Christ and the Virgin Mary.

It requested that the preacher be brought to a speedy trial so that Copts feel they are equal citizens, and that all religions are safeguarded.

Abu Islam is already on trial for tearing up a Bible during a protest outside the US Embassy in Cairo. He had been demonstrating against a short, amateur film made in the US that was widely seen as an insult to Prophet Mohamed.

Egyptian law forbids contempt of religion, and anyone convicted of such an act can face three years in prison. Several Copts in recent years have been brought to court on charges of contempt of religion.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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