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Beirut, February 21, 2010

Press release

The Criminal Court of Amman Fines a Sudanese Intellectual and a


Jordanian Publishing House after Being Convicted of ‘Insulting the
Muslim Faith’

Amman-SKeyes

On Sunday, February 21, 2010, the Criminal Court of First Instance in


Amman, led by Judge Nazir Shehadeh, decided to fine a Sudanese
intellectual and a Jordanian publishing house the amount of 10 thousand
dinars each, after being convicted on charges of insulting religions, in
violation of Article 38 of the Press and Publications Law.
Their defence attorney Zaid Majali told the website „Khabberni‟ [Tell Me]:
“Today (yesterday), the court‟s decision was issued fining the Sudanese
writer - a non-permanent resident of Jordan – Al-Nayyel Abdul Qader Abu
Quroun and the Ward Publishing and Distribution House, the amount of ten
thousand dinars each, following the lawsuit filed against the book “The
letters of al-Sheikh Al-Nayyel...A Critique of Islamic Thinking”. The lawyer
indicated that the book was not distributed in Jordan. He also clarified that
the Ward publishing house submitted the book for approval by the
Department of Press and Publications, and that after the book was studied,
the former came up with 12 remarks and concluded that the book supports
Shi'ism, and requested that it be referred to the General Prosecutor for
violating articles in the Press and Publications Law, and for slandering,
defaming and offending religion”.
Majali said that the book “studied a number of hadiths attributed to the
prophet mentioned in Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari, which Abu Quroun
said that they cannot be imputed to the Prophet (PBUH) and to his wife
Aisha. The book included long and detailed discussions on these hadiths,
which the Department of Press and Publications deemed to be offensive to
religion”.

Samir Kassir Foundation, Aref Saghieh Bldg.( Ground Floor), 63, Zahrani St., Sioufi, Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon
Tel /Fax: 00961 1 397334, Mobile: 00961 3 372717, E-Mail Address: info@skeyesmedia.org
This is the first case that involves referring an Arab intellectual to the
Amman Criminal Court against the backdrop of a book published by a
Jordanian publishing house.
The Press and Publications Department referred Abu Quroun and the
publishing House to the judiciary in April, on counts of insulting the
companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his book “The letters of
al-Sheikh Al-Nayyel...A Critique of Islamic Thinking”. At the time, the
director of the Press and Publications Department Nabil al-Mumini
announced that Abu Quroun and the Ward Publishing and Distribution
House have been referred to the judiciary, pursuant to the Press and
Publications Law which prohibits the publication of any material offensive
to religion. The department recommended in the course of its complaint
against the writer, the book and the publisher the charge of „insulting the
prophet‟s companions Abu Bakr, Umar and Aisha” against the defendants,
and said that the thinker “has Shiite inclinations, in addition to questioning
the books of Bukhari and Muslim and their infallibility, as he stated that no
one is infallible except the Prophet (PBUH)”.
The Department of Press and Publications presented the book to the Ministry
of Endowments, which decided through its Secretary-General Dr.
Mohammed al-Ru‟oud to ban the distribution of the book, in a report he
submitted to the Press and Publications Department, mentioning that: “the
book is full of falsities against the noble Shari‟a, and we recommend that the
book be banned as we view it to be unfit for publication”.
The SKeyes Centre for Media and Cultural Freedom reiterates its
denunciation of all sentences made against writers and intellectuals in Jordan
that are related to intellectual freedom and the freedom of expression and
opinion. SKeyes also deplores the continuation of pre-publication censorship
over books and literary and cultural works by any party or authority, and
also the detention of journalists while carrying their jobs, and their
interrogation and release on expensive bails as happened yesterday also with
the journalist Khalil Qandil. SKeyes calls on the Jordanian government to do
the necessary to repeal the sentences issued against all of the individuals
mentioned above, and to reconsider and abolish the laws in force in this
regard, as these harm the reputation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
and poses many questions regarding the future of freedoms there in
particular the freedom of expression and opinion.

Samir Kassir Foundation, Aref Saghieh Bldg.( Ground Floor), 63, Zahrani St., Sioufi, Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon
Tel /Fax: 00961 1 397334, Mobile: 00961 3 372717, E-Mail Address: info@skeyesmedia.org