Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Egypt Finds Actor Guilty of Insulting Islam on Film ; Ruling Unnerves Some amid Political Uncertainty and a Rising Conservatism

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Egypt Finds Actor Guilty of Insulting Islam on Film ; Ruling Unnerves Some amid Political Uncertainty and a Rising Conservatism

Article excerpt

The ruling against Adel Imam is alarming liberal-minded artists and intellectuals already anxious about the growing power of Islamists after the removal of President Hosni Mubarak.

A court has found Egypt's most popular comic actor guilty of insulting Islam in roles in films mocking religious hypocrisy, alarming liberal-minded artists and intellectuals already anxious about the growing power of Islamists here after the removal of President Hosni Mubarak.

The court fined the actor, Adel Imam, about $170 on Tuesday and gave him a suspended sentence; Mr. Imam is expected to appeal.

Although laws criminalizing insults to Islam or Christianity have been on the books for years, convictions have been relatively rare, especially in the context of popular movies.

Mr. Imam was convicted for performances in the blockbuster films "The Terrorist" (1994), in which he plays a radical Islamist hiding among a moderate, middle-class family, and "Terrorism and Kebab" (1992), in which his character becomes enraged at a lazy civil servant pretending to pray to avoid work. …

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