Egypt’s Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail, has sacked the Justice Minister, Ahmed al-Zind, after saying on television that he would arrest and jail Islam’s Prophet Mohammad himself, among others, if he broke the law – a comment considered blasphemous which had sparked national outrage and widespread criticism.
The dismissal hammer was wielded on Zind following his overzealousness to convince citizens of his commitment to fighting crime.
It was gathered that Mr Zend sparked outrage on social media over the weekend after an interview he gave to private satellite channel Sada al-Balad on Friday.
Asked about a case involving journalists accused of defaming him and whether he would jail them, Mr Zind said he would imprison anyone.
“Even if it was Prophet [Mohammed].”
Upon realising what he had said, Zind immediately stopped and said: “I ask for forgiveness from God.” He also issued an apology in another interview on Saturday, but to no avail.
“Prime Minister Sherif Ismail issued a decree today to relieve Ahmed al-Zind … of his position,” a government statement said, giving no more details.
Mr Zend had clarified his comments in a telephone interview Saturday with private network CBC television, saying it was a mere “slip of the tongue”.
Meanwhile, angry Egyptians launched the Twitter hashtag “trial for Zend” as they lashed out at the minister.