Eight Egyptians Face Trial for Insulting Islam
The case of eight Egyptians accused of having formed a sect "insulting the Muslim religion" was referred Saturday to the country's correctional high court for state security, a court source told AFP.
An official from the Cairo governorate, Amin Yussef Ali Hassan, is accused of being the head of the sect.
According to the prosecutor's office, those involved tried to "spread extremist ideas contrary to the principles of Islam."
The members of the sect are accused of ignoring the "Sunna" - or sayings and practices of the prophet Mohammed - which, along with the Quran, are the two reference points for Islam, the source added.
The Cairo-based Al Ahram Arabic daily added that the accused allegedly spread ideas like denying that Muslims should peform the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, or fast during Ramadan.
Particularly worrisome to authorities is the group's alleged assertion that Muslims should not face in the direction of Mecca during prayers.
Hajj, fasting during Ramadan and properly performed prayers are three of the five pillars of Islam.
The correctional high court of state security, a special court whose verdicts cannot be appealed, must later fix a date for the start of the trial, said AFP.
The accused could earn sentences of up to five years of hard labor - Albawaba.com
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