June 15, 2009 / 4:28 PM / in 9 years

Egypt court reinstates magazine licence after poem

CAIRO, June 15 (Reuters) - An Egyptian court has reinstated the licence of a literary magazine two months after it was revoked for publishing a blasphemous poem, state news agency MENA said on Monday.

A lower court revoked the licence of Ibdaa (Creativity) magazine in April for printing Helmy Salem’s poem “Laila Mourad’s balcony” — a reference to an Egyptian ‘40s movie icon.

The poem, described by the lower court judge as “presumptuous drivel”, contained references to God, likening him, for example, to a villager force-feeding a duck.

In its ruling on Monday, the supreme administrative court said it “rejects absolutely every word and letter of the poem”, which it described as “squalid”, MENA reported, and called for the initiation of criminal and disciplinary proceedings against the poem’s author and its publisher.

However, the court found that there had been no legal basis to revoke the licence of the magazine, according to MENA.

The poem was published in an anthology of Salem’s work in 2006 without a stir and was reprinted in the al-Wafd and al-Araby newspapers, which have much larger circulation than Ibdaa. (Writing by Aziz El-Kaissouni)

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