Egyptian Muslim cleric to be tried for contempt of religion over anti-Christian comments

A Muslim cleric in Egypt who was previously charged with contempt of religion over anti-Christian comments is set to face trial at a misdemeanor court in Cairo on June 24.

(REUTERS / Amr Abdallah Dalsh)The Egyptian flag is seen at the Supreme Constitutional Court during the swearing in ceremony of the head of the court Adli Mansour as the nation's interim president in Cairo July 4, 2013.

A few days ago, Salem Abdel-Geliel drew flak after he labeled Christians as non-believers during an episode of his religious television program "Muslims Ask" on Mehwar satellite channel. While explaining a passage from the Quran, he also described Christian beliefs as "corrupted," Ahram details.

In response to the anti-Christian comments on "Muslims Ask," attorney Naguib Gibrail filed a lawsuit against Abdel-Geliel, accusing him of contempt of religion, being a threat to national unity, inciting the killing of Christians, and disturbing public peace.

On May 10, Mehwar official Hassan Rateb announced that they will cancel the station's contract with Abdel-Geliel. The channel also issued an official statement apologizing to all "Christian brothers" for what the Muslim cleric said.

Abdel-Geliel, on the other hand, later released a statement apologizing for his offensive remarks. He explained that the Quran used the term "unbeliever" to describe Christians under a certain context but he was not inciting any form of violence against Christians because such an act is forbidden in their religion.

In addition, Abdel-Geliel said he understands why Mehwar has decided to cancel his contract.

Last month, Marvel artist Ardian Syaf sparked controversy after it was discovered that he had included anti-Christian and anti-Semitic references in his artworks featured in an "X-Men Gold" issue. After the controversial messages spread online, Marvel vowed to take action, The Washington Times reports.

In a statement, Marvel revealed that the controversial artworks with anti-Christian and anti-Semitic references were "inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings." The company also promised to implement disciplinary action against Syaf and to remove the said artworks from the succeeding digital versions, paperbacks, and other printings of the comics.