In Egypt the growing influence of political Islam threatens to lead to a clash of civilizations on a national level. Proof of this was delivered on Tuesday when an Egyptian court sentenced the actor Adel Imam to three months in prison and a fine of LE 1000 for defaming Islam in his films Morgan Ahmed Morgan, El-Erhaby ('The Terrorist') and El-Erhab Wel-Kabab ('Terrorism and Kebab').
Writer Alaa El-Aswany, whose book 'The Yacoubian Building' was filmed with Imam in one of the leading roles, wrote on Twitter that he did not agree with Adel Imam politically, but nevertheless appreciated his art. Aswany condemned the sentence, saying Egypt was returning to the dark ages.
Independent filmmaker Ahmad Abdallah described the sentence was an "act of terrorism against artists" and a "slap in the face for serious cinema." And actor Amr Waked said that "the best you could do to an artist you don’t approve of is not watch him, but you don’t have the right to prevent him from working or jailing him."Ashraf Abdel Ghaffour, the head of the Egyptian Actors Syndicate, said that the syndicate’s lawyers would appeal the conviction.
The case against Imam was filed in February by Asran Mansour, who accused the actor of offending Islam and its symbols, including the Hijab – head scarf – and beards in his films.