An Egyptian scholar has been banned from preaching and is due to appear in court for saying Christians and Jews are “kuffar” who will go to hell live on television.
Shaykh Salem Abdel Galil who is a former religious endowments ministry official, made the comments a TV show he hosts, which sparked a backlash from secularists and Coptic Christians.
Egypt’s endowments ministry, which controls the all the mosques in the country, said Shaykh Abdel Galil is no longer permitted to deliver khutbah during Jummah prayers unless he retracts and apologised for his comments.
The complaint was filed by Naguib Gobrail, a lawyer and Coptic Christian activist, who accused the cleric of insulting Christianity and “endangering national unity”.
He confirmed that a misdemeanour court scheduled a hearing on 24 June 2017 to review his complaint.
Shaykh Abdel Galil criticised Muslim scholars who say Jews and Christians are “believers”, stating that non-Muslims were “kuffar” – a Quranic Arabic word for people who disbelieve in Islam and will enter hell.
The comments were made on a show aired by the private Mehwar broadcaster, which later apologised and said that cleric’s contract with the station has been cancelled.
His comments prompted the endowments ministry to “prevent him from ascending the pulpit unless he remedies the concerns and tension caused by his comments”, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
“[Abdel Galil’s remarks] do not help the establishment of the foundations of citizenship, peaceful coexistence and societal peace that we work toward achieving in reality,” the ministry added.
Shaykh Abdel Galil apologised for his comments on Thursday.
He posted on Facebook: “As some considered it hurtful to Christians, I apologise for the hurt feelings.
“The religious view of the corruption of non-Muslims’ faith, in our opinion, is the same as them viewing our faith as corrupt.”