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Novelist accused of contempt of religion

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Eleven Coptic rights groups accuse Youssef Zidan of offending Christianity

Novelist and author Youssef Zidan was referred to investigation  for contempt of religion. (Photo: Courtesy of Facebook Fan Page)

Novelist and author Youssef Zidan was referred to investigation for contempt of religion.
(Photo: Courtesy of Facebook Fan Page)

Novelist and author Youssef Ziedan was referred to investigation on Tuesday for contempt of religion.

Ziedan is a writer known for reflecting controversial opinions on religious matters through his books. Azazil, the novel which earned Ziedan the Arab Booker Prize, challenged Christian beliefs when weighed against philosophy and logic.

The novelist was released after an investigation, reported state-owned Al-Ahram. Ziedan requested a respite to respond to the notes issued in the Islamic Research Complex’s report regarding his case.

Eleven Coptic rights organisations had filed a report to the prosecutor general in 2010 accusing Ziedan of contempt of the Christian religion, reported Al-Ahram. The organisations stated Ziedan taunts the doctrines of the trinity, unification and redemption adopted by Christians.

The organisations claimed in their report that Ziedan is accustomed to attacking Christianity and the Christian dogma, reported Al-Ahram. They added that his writings threaten national unity and undermine social peace.

Contempt of religion cases have flooded Egypt for almost a year. Most reports were filed regarding the contempt of Islam. In December, outspoken blogger Alber Saber was sentenced to three years in jail for “contempt of the Muslim and Christian religions” after prosecutors accused him of starting Facebook pages that offend both God and the Muslim and Christian religions.

Additional reporting by Ahmed Aboul Enein


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