Egypt Bans European Papers for Comments on Islam

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CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt has banned editions of two French and German newspapers, Le Figaro and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, because of articles deemed insulting to Islam, the state news agency MENA said on Sunday.

Under a decree issued by Information Minister Anas el-Feki, the two editions will not be able to enter the country, it said.

“They published articles which disparaged Islam and claimed that the Islamic religion was spread by the sword and that the Prophet… was the prophet of evil,” it added.

The edition of Le Figaro, dated September 19, contains an opinion piece on Islam and the Prophet Mohammad by French philosopher and high school teacher Robert Redeker.

“Merciless warrior, pillager, murderer of Jews and polygamist — that is how Mohammad portrays himself in the Koran… Hatred and violence live in the book by which every Muslim is educated, the Koran,” Redeker wrote.

The edition of the German newspaper, dated September 16, contains an article by German historian Egon Flaig looking at how the Prophet Mohammad was a successful military leader.

Flaig presents other arguments supporting the view that Islam has had a violent history.

The Egyptian agency said: “The minister of information said that he would not allow any publication that insults the Islamic religion or calls for hatred or contempt of any religion to be distributed inside Egypt.”

It did not link the articles to Pope Benedict’s speech in Germany on September 12, in which he quoted a Byzantine emperor as making similar remarks about Islam and the Prophet Mohammad.

The Egyptian government rarely bans mainstream European newspapers or magazines.

(Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau in Berlin)
© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Egypt Bans European Papers for Comments on Islam

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