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Egypt court reduces jail term of Islamic scholar

Cairo: An Egyptian court today reduced the prison sentence for a prominent TV anchor and Islamic scholar convicted of insulting Islam on his television show, from five years to one.

The controversial remarks of Islam al-Behairy about contempt of religion made on his programme “With Islam” provoked outrage and refusal by many researchers.

El-Behairy, known for questioning the credibility of the sources of the Prophet Mohammed’s sayings on his show on private satellite channel, had said that some religious approaches need revision and renewal.

Earlier in April, the top Islamic authority in Egypt Al-Azhar University filed a complaint requesting TV channels not to air El-Behairy’s show, and accused the show of stirring sectarian strife.

The channel later suspended the programme, saying the decision was taken “to defend the national interest, out of respect for a large segment of society and in response to the request of the grand sheikh of al-Azhar”.

El-Behairy was then put on trial and sentenced to five years in prison, but the sentence was reduced to one year on appeal. His lawyer said that el-Behairy did not insult Islam.