Last Updated: Wed Sep 12, 2012 20:27 pm (KSA) 17:27 pm (GMT)

Court finds Egypt’s famed actor ‘innocent’ after ‘defaming Islam’ charges

Adel Imam in one of his most famous plays, Al-Zaeem (The Leader). The play is just one of the actor's performances that has been criticized for offending Islam and its symbols. (File photo)
Adel Imam in one of his most famous plays, Al-Zaeem (The Leader). The play is just one of the actor's performances that has been criticized for offending Islam and its symbols. (File photo)

Egyptian film star and the Arab world’s most famous comedian, Adel Imam, won his appeal on Wednesday against “insulting Islam” charges in a number of his films and plays, local media reported.

The judge at the Misdemeanors Court in Cairo said he had watched the films in question and ruled they did not defame Islam, Al Ahram newspaper said.

In April, a Cairo court upheld a three-month jail sentence for Imam, on charges of insulting Islam.

Imam, who is considered to be one of the Arab world’s biggest film stars, with 40 years of box office hits in and plays under his belt, was sentenced in absentia by a lower court in February.

“Some people seeking fame filed a suit against me over works I have done which they consider insulting to Islam, and this is of course not true,” Imam told AFP after the first ruling against him.

“All the works in which I have starred went through the censors. Had they been found to be defamatory, the censors would have banned them.”

The 71-year-old celebrity said that among the works criticized are the 1994 production “al-Irhabi” (The Terrorist), in which he portrays an Islamic fundamentalist and the play “al-Zaeem” (The Leader), a comedy in which Imam pokes fun at the region's autocratic leaders.

Egyptian telecommunications and construction tycoon Naguib Sawiris, a founder of the liberal Free Egyptians political party, had to also face similar charges of defaming Islam after he posted pictures of Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in Muslim attire on Twitter.

Two courts, however, rejected blasphemy cases against Sawiris.

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