Bulaq al-Dakrour prosecution has started investigating about 40 claims filed against four people for proselytizing the Shia faith in Nahya, Giza.
Prosecutor Ibrahim Khalaf summoned the suspects on Saturday, after listening to the claimants, and ordered that their statements be investigated.
Anti-Shia rhetoric is prevalent in Sunni-majority Egypt, especially among Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi movement, which are predominately Sunni.
The prosecution received a number of complaints over the past two days from Nahya residents that several Shias were frequenting a mosque where they insulted and mocked the Prophet Mohamed and his companions in an attempt to spread the Shia faith.
The claimants said they discovered that the four defendants used the Internet to communicate their ideas with some of the residents and that they tried to arrest them but they could not.
The claimants confirmed that the defendants stirred up anger among the residents that almost became violent, so they submitted reports to the prosecution.
Shia community leaders complained of persecution and detention under the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak. Al-Taher al-Hashiemy, the secretary general of the Hashemeya Sufi order and one of the founders of the Sufi-led Egyptian Tahrir Party, once said that Shias abstained from performing their rituals to avoid detention by the now dissolved State Security Investigation Services.
The media has reported that that Egyptian security services have stopped several Shia rituals and celebrations. In December, security forces shut Cairo's Hussein Mosque, apparently fearing that non-Shia citizens would react angrily to some Egyptian Shias celebrating Ashura, an annual event that marks the death of the Prophet's grandson Imam Hussein.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm