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Court upholds guilty verdict against popular Egyptian comedian for defaming Islam

Published: Friday, April 27 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

In this Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009 photo, Egyptian film actor and comedian Adel Imam pauses during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt. A judge says a well known Egyptian comedian and film star has been sentenced to three months in jail for offending Muslims. The judge confirmed Thursday that Adel Imam was convicted in-absentia of In this Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009 photo, Egyptian film actor and comedian Adel Imam pauses during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt. A judge says a well known Egyptian comedian and film star has been sentenced to three months in jail for offending Muslims. The judge confirmed Thursday that Adel Imam was convicted in-absentia of "defaming Islam." His whereabouts are unknown. (Associated Press)

CAIRO — An Egyptian court upheld a conviction against one of the Arab world's most famous comedians, sentencing him to jail for offending Islam in some of his most popular films.

The case against Adel Imam and others like it have raised concerns among some Egyptians that ultraconservative Muslims who made gains in recent elections after Hosni Mubarak's ouster last year are trying to foist their religious views on the entire country. Critics say the trend threatens to curb Egypt's vibrant film industry and freedom of speech.

Imam was sentenced Tuesday to three months in jail and fined around $170 for insulting Islam in roles he played in movies such as "The Terrorist", in which he acted the role of a wanted terrorist who found refuge with a middle class, moderate family, and the film "Terrorism and Kabab."

The actor was also found guilty for his 2007 role in "Morgan Ahmed Morgan," in which Imam played a corrupt businessman who tries to buy a university diploma. The film included a scene parodying bearded Muslim men wearing traditional Islamic clothing.

The case is one of many brought by conservative lawyers in recent months seeking to punish individuals they deem as having offended Islam.

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