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Approved & signed by 80 Egyptian MPs:

New draft bill: Public accusation of heresy could lead to death penalty

Tuesday 30-05-2017 - 08:46 PM
Mohamed Arabi
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Cairo - Mohamed Abu Hamed, a member of the Political Bureau of the “Support Egypt” coalition, has submitted to the General Secretariat of the House of Representatives on Monday May 29, 2017 a draft bill on combating hate crimes in society.

The draft bill includes top four items for publication and sixteen others for the exposition of the complete bill, along with an explanatory memorandum of the bill.

The draft bill makes a provision for strict punishment of those who engage in hate crimes of any sort. The provision reads: “Anyone using religion to accuse other individuals or a group of disbelief or heresy is to be sentenced to life imprisonment. If the accusation is coupled with death threat or incitement, the person involved will be sentenced to death as a consequence.”

On his part, MP Abu Hamed told Al-Shorouk Newspaper on Monday that the draft bill was approved and signed by about 80 MPs. Parliament’s bylaws require that a proposed bill has to be signed by at least 60 MPs in order to be processed to the parliamentary review.


Clear definitions of “contempt of religions” crime

MP Mohamed Abu Hamed,
MP Mohamed Abu Hamed, a member of the Political Bureau of the “Support Egypt” coalition

Abu Hamed added that the draft bill provides clear definitions of criminal acts, especially the charge of “contempt of religions” that will exclude scholarly discussions, academic discussion and critical readings of the views and interpretations of early scholars.

-According to the draft bill, committing any of the following acts constitute the crime of “contempt of religions", such as:

-Blasphemous remarks against God, His attributes or His Supreme Being.

-Offensive remarks at any prophet or messenger or against their wives, their households or their companions in general.

-Insult or mockery of any religion, religious figure or worship rites of any religious group.

-Disrespecting the feelings of any religious group,or preventing them from performing their acts of worship.

-Committing sacrilegious acts at any place of worship.

-Interfering with the proceedings of officially licensed religious ceremonies or communions.

-Threatening congregations by means of violence or intimidation.

-Violating, disfiguring, destroying, desecrating, burning or abusing any divine scripture in any way is a clear case of contempt for religions.

-Distorting or tampering with religious texts for political ends is a case of contempt of religions.

-Vandalizing, damaging, desecrating or destroying any place of worship, including graveyards, cemeteries, shrines and suchlike, is contempt of religions.

The bill excludes scholarly and academice discussions, interfaith dialogues, and critical readings of the views and interpretations of early scholars and schools of thought. These will not constitute a “contempt of religions” case under the provisions of the new draft law.


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