Egyptian court jails 14 members of heretical Islamic sect

Agence France-Presse, July 26, 1999

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, July 26 (AFP) - An Egyptian court jailed 14 members of a heretical Islamic sect Monday for challenging the principles of Islam, Egypt's official religion.

The court in Egypt's second city sentenced the sect's leader, Mohamed Ibrahim Mahfuz, 63, to five years in prison. Seven of his followers were jailed for three years and the rest for one.

The court heard that Mahfouz had taught his followers he was God Incarnate and called on them to pray towards his home city of Alexandria rather than the Saudi city of Mecca as required by Islam.

He also taught his followers to pray just twice a day, rather five times as demanded by Islam.

A total of 20 alleged members of the sect were arrested in December -- one was released soon after and five were acquitted.


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