An Egyptian Islamist lawyer has filed a complaint with the prosecutor general calling for banning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from entering the country or his arrest, in advance of a meeting he is expected to attend in Egypt later this month.
Unwelcome in Egypt
In the filing, the embattled president, whose re-election last month has been rocked by street protests throughout the Islamic Republic, was accused of fraudulently winning the elections and insulting two of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions in a campaign speech.
The complaint, filed by Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Mamdouh Ismail, calls for arresting and trying the Iranian president, who is scheduled to attend a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh in mid-July.
"Ahmadinejad's visit to the Sinai Peninsula is a threat to national security and he has to be banned from entering the country, and if he does, he has to be arrested and prosecuted," Ismail told Al Arabiya.
The lawyer asserted that there was ample proof the Iranian elections were fraudulent and that therefore Ahmadinejad is not the legitimate president and should not be received as such.
"If he is not the legitimate president, then he shouldn't be received in Egypt as such. His illegitimacy is obvious in the protests against him inside Iran," said Ismail.
Although Cairo and Tehran have made moves to normalize frosty relations recently, Egypt remains the only Arab state without an embassy in Iran and declined to congratulate Ahmadinejad's victory last month.
The Non-Aligned Movement
Egypt is to assume the rotating presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement from Cuba. After each summit, held every three years, the president or prime minister of the summit host-country takes over the leadership position.
A diplomatic source said that no bilateral talks were expected to take place between the two presidents since this is not customary is this kind of summit, and that Egypt would seek to ensure any visit passes peacefully but doubted it would help ease the tension between the two regional heavyweights, the Egyptian independent daily al-Shorouk al-Gedid reported.
According to the complaint, of which Al Arabiya obtained a copy, in a campaign interview with Iran's Channel Three on June 10 Ahmadinejad accused two of the prophet's sahaba, companions, Talha ibn Obaidallah and al-Zobeir ibn al-Awam, of apostasy and betrayal.
"Deriding religion is criminalized in the Egyptian law. If the Danish cartoonist who insulted the prophet came to Egypt, he would be arrested and tried," said Ismail, adding that the statement was an insult to the entire Muslim world and particularly Egypt, which is predominantly Sunni.
Ismail added that Ahmadinejad's statement constituted an insult to the entire Muslim world and particularly Egypt, which is predominantly Sunni.
He added that, despite disagreements between Saudi Arabia and Egypt on one hand and Iran on the other, neither President Hosni Mubarak nor King Abdullah had ever insulted Shiite Muslims.
"The complaint aims at proving that Sunnis are capable of defending their faith and standing up to insults," Ismail concluded.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid, written by Courtney C. Radsch)