The committee of constitutional and legislative affairs of Egypt’s House of Representatives has rejected a proposal by MP Amna Nosseir, Professor of Islamic Philosophy at al-Azhar; MP Nadia Henry; and MP Mona Mounir, to annul Article (w) of the law 98 of the Penal Code, which deals with disdain of religion. The article had been added to the Penal Code in June 1981.
A majority of 16 MPs rejected the proposal against three MPs who approved it; one MP abstained from voting.
The MPs who voted against annulling Article (w) claimed that it served to deter and penalise disdain or contempt of religions which, they insisted, does not count as freedom of expression. Those who voted for its annulment claimed that that Article 98 (w) defines disdain of religion in very vague terms, which led to radical judicial rulings, such as in case of Islamic scholar Islam Beheiry and poet Fatima Naoot.
1 November 2016