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Egyptian Novelist Jailed for Criticizing Islamic Custom on Facebook

JAFFA, Israel – The Egyptian novelist Fatma Naout has been sentenced to three years in jail for publishing a Facebook post criticizing the custom of sheep slaughter during the Muslim Festival of the Sacrifice (Eid al Adha).

The court said that her comments violated the law against insulting religion, and sentenced her to jail and a fine of 20,000 Egyptian pounds ($3,000).

In her defense, Naout said she only expressed concern for animals and had no intention to insult or undermine Islam. She also said that the post wasn’t critical, but rather a “satirical observation.”

The man who filed the complaint against Naout, an Egyptian lawyer, has been charged with insulting Naout and the country’s judiciary.

Last month, an Egyptian academic was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for criticizing modern interpretations of Islamic laws. Especially controversial was his criticism of the “distortion” of the story of the prophet Mohammed’s marriage, which was meant, according to him, to “unnecessarily aggrandize the prophet’s persona.”

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