Ahmed Abdullah ripped up the Bible during a September 11 rally by ultraconservative Salafi Muslims in Cairo who were protesting against an anti-Islam film produced in the U.S.
During the sentencing at Cairo’s Nasr City court, his son was also given a suspended sentence of eight years for the same incident.
It was a rare prosecution over attacks on faiths other than Islam in Egypt. Over the past two years, attacks by extremist Muslims against followers of other religions, mostly Christians, have been on the increase.
Abdullah, also known as Abu Islam, has become known for hate speeches against Coptic Christians in his preaching.
Last year, he launched a new Islamic TV channel that is run primarily by women covered from head to toe with only their eyes showing. He is a frequent guest on other TV channels.
According to Egyptian law, showing contempt toward Christianity, Islam and Judaism known as ‘heavenly’ religions is a crime.
Lawyers and rights groups complain the definition of contempt of religion is vague and has been used most often against critics of Islam.
Blasphemy charges were not uncommon in Egypt under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, but there has been a surge in such cases in recent months.
The trend is widely seen as a reflection of the growing power and confidence of Islamists, after election victories by the Muslim Brotherhood and strong showings by the Salafis, who practice a form of the religion as they believe it existed around the seventh century.
Writers, activists and a television comedian have recently been charged with blasphemy, but Christians seem to be the favourite target of Islamist prosecutors. Abdullah’s case brought a rare sentence against a Muslim cleric.
In one of the most recent cases, a Coptic teacher was sentenced to pay a fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds (£9,000) for insulting Islam and the Prophet Mohammed while teaching.
Abdullah and his son were also ordered to pay a fine of 5,000 Egyptian pounds (£446). The ruling can be appealed.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2343788/Ahmed-Abdullah-Muslim-cleric-gets-11-year-sentence-burning-Bible-outside-US-Embassy-Egypt.html#ixzz2WmMXs0a0
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook