Investigation ordered into blasphemy charges against actress

The Public Prosecution has ordered an investigation into a complaint accusing actress Raghda of blasphemy after she had allegedly insulted Aisha, the wife of Prophet Mohamed.

Mohamed Rashad, the lawyer who filed the complaint, said in his petition that Raghda, “Crossed all lines of politeness by describing the Mother of Believers as a one raised by the Jews of Bani Quraydha”, referring to a Jewish tribe that had fought against the first Muslims. He added that Raghda’s remarks “provoked viewers” at an event at the Cairo Opera House.

According to Rashad, Raghda’s remarks “violated the Holy Quran’s account of the Prophet’s wives, and also breached the penal code by committing an action of libel.”

Late March, Raghda was reportedly assaulted by attendants at a poetry night at Cairo’s Opera House after delivering a poem supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime has been leading a bloody crackdown against pro-democracy protests since 2011.

Born to a Syrian father and Egyptian mother, Raghda starred in several Egyptian movies, TV series, and theatrical performances in the 1980s and 1990s.

The period following the Egyptian Revolution in January 2011 has seen a rise in legal actions over blasphemy accusations against artists and intellectuals, concerning advocates of free speech. That coincided with the growing political influence of Islamist groups and the election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsy as president.

Prominent comedian Adel Imam was acquitted last year of similar charges.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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