Egypt: Journalist Fatima Naoot Faces Trial for Contempt of Religion

Fatima Naoot

Egyptian prosecutors referred journalist Fatima Naoot to a misdemeanours court last week, accusing her of insulting Islam, after she wrote a critical piece on the Eid al Adha tradition, during which thousands of cattle are slaughtered every year. Her trial is expected to begin on January 28.

In October 2014, Naoot wrote a note on her Facebook page about Eid al Adha, describing the event as the “greatest massacre committed by human beings” and explaining how humans often use religion to satiate their lust for killing.

“[It's] a yearly massacre because a good man once had a nightmare about his good son, and although the nightmare has passed for the good man and his son, the [sheep] pay their lives as a price for that holy nightmare,” wrote Naoot.

During interrogation, Naoot, who is an outspoken secularist, admitted to having written the article but denied accusations of her intentions being directed towards insulting Islam.

Eid al Adha is one of the two religious holidays that Muslims celebrate across the world each year, as it commemorates the willingness of the Prophet to sacrifice his young son Ismail in an attempt to submit to God’s command, just before God intervened to replace Ismail with a lamb instead.

Legislation, which criminalizes insulting religion, goes back to the times of Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted from power in 2011.The law was added to Egypt’s penal code in 1982, stipulating prison sentences of six months to five years and fines of E£500 to E£1000 to any person that uses religion in writings or speeches, to promote extremist ideas with the intention of spreading unrest, demeaning a monotheistic religion or harming national unity.

Photo Credits: ALmasry ALmohager

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