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Egyptian justice minister sacked for Prophet jailing remarks

Ahmed Zend is known for his hostility against the banned Muslim Brotherhood [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 March, 2016

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Ahmed al-Zend has been fired on Sunday following remarks he made days earlier about 'jailing the Prophet Mohammed himself' if he committed a crime.
Egypt's minister of justice has been sacked for remarks he made about imprisoning Prophet Mohammed on live television two days earlier.

Ahmed al-Zend was "released from his position" by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, cabinet spokesman Hossam Qaish said on Sunday.

Zend, during a television interview with el-Balad TV, said he would put anyone who violates the law in prison, "even if it was the prophet himself."

He quickly followed by saying "May God forgive me," for making such comment, "I meant the wrongdoer, whoever he may be, must be punished."

Zend later took to Twitter to condemn his "slip of tongue."

[Translation: I did not mean to offend the Prophet and I should not have made a comment like that, but some took advantage of my comment to sway public opinion]

But that did not prevent a backlash by the public as Egypt's influential religious body, al-Azhar warned about "insulting the status of the Prophet, even unintentionally".

"All those involved in public discourse and in the media must respect the name of the Prophet," it said in a statement without naming Zend.

Meanwhile, angry Egyptians launched a Twitter hashtag "trial for Zend" as they lashed out at the minister, who only in January had angered human rights groups after he called for the "mass killing" of outlawed Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Zend, who assumed office last year, is known for his hostility against the banned Muslim Brotherhood that Egyptian authorities have blamed for a spate of violence, which has hit the country since the army's 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohammad Morsi.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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