Egyptian Justice Minister Ahmed Al-Zend has been sacked after making “offensive” remarks about Islam’s Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the Anadolu Agency reported Prime Minister Sharif Ismail announcing yesterday.
“Sharif Ismail, head of the Council of Ministers, has decided to dismiss Ahmed Al-Zend, minister of justice, from his post,” government spokesman Hossam Al-Qaweesh told Anadolu.
Earlier yesterday, two separate lawsuits were raised with Egypt’s prosecution authorities against Al-Zend accusing him of “insulting” Islam’s Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
A judicial source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Anadolu that Egyptian Attorney-General Nabil Sadiq had received two legal complaints against Al-Zend based on recent televised remarks in which he had “insulted the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him”.
According to lawyer Amr Abdel-Salam, who lodged the first complaint, when replying to a question about the detention of journalists, Al-Zend said: “If the Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him – insulted me, I would put him in jail.”
After his comments sparked widespread public outrage, he was asked by the Council of Ministers to tender his resignation. When he refused, the decision was taken to sack him, according to state media.
Al-Zend, a prominent judicial figure under the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, was a vocal supporter of the 2013 military coup that ousted Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president