On November 25, 2021, BBC Arabic (U.K.) aired an interview with Egyptian lawyer, researcher, and writer Ahmed Abdou Maher, who was recently sentenced to five years in Egyptian prison for criticizing Islam in his book, "How the Imams' Jurisprudence Is Leading the Nation Astray." Maher told the interviewer that his book doesn't include a single word of extremism, blasphemy, or incitement against Islam, and that it only criticizes Islam's jurisprudents for their "blood-soaked ideology."
He criticized Islamic scholars that follow Maliki, Bukhai, Safi'i, Hanafi, and other schools of Islamic thought, saying that they espouse the killing of apostates, homosexuals, adulterers, people who don't pray, people who curse the Prophet Muhammad, and prisoners of war. He also said that they espouse punishments such as the chopping of people's limbs and beheading people. Abdou Maher elaborated that the jurisprudents who adhere to these schools of thought consider anything that is outside of their "box" to be heresy, and he said that they have the ears of people in Egypt's judicial system and are trying to turn Egypt into a religious state. He said that these schools of thought do not have a monopoly on what Islam is, and that Egypt's president should declare that he is innocent.
Abdou Maher also bemoaned the fact that there are many terrorist organizations and that Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan have all been destroyed. For more about Ahmed Abdou Maher, see MEMRI TV Clips No. 8473, No. 5999, No. 5669, No. 5409, and No. 5234.
Journalist: "[The court] ruled that lawyer Ahmed Abdou Maher should serve five years in prison, after he was convicted of undermining the peace of society, provoking strife, and attacking the religion of Islam, in his book How the Imams' Jurisprudence Is Leading the Nation Astray."
Ahmed Abdou Maher: "In my book, there is not a single word of extremism, a single word of blasphemy against the religion of Islam, a single word of ethnic strife, or a single word that provokes the masses. But it provokes the jurisprudents. Yes. It provokes the jurisprudents because of the blood-soaked ideology they espouse, by killing apostates, killing people who do not pray, killing homosexuals, killing adulterers, killing people who curse the Prophet Muhammad, and beheading them even if they repent, as well as killing prisoners of war, gouging out their eyes, and chopping off their hands and feet, and so on and so forth.
"Indeed, my book is hostile to the jurisprudents in this regard. This is why it is called How the Imams' Jurisprudence Is Leading the Nation Astray. They lie in wait for any idea that is outside their box. They want a specific formula, and anything else is heresy. The Shi'ites and Ibadis are outside of the box, so they consider them to be heretics. I am outside the box, so they consider me to be a heretic, and so on. Unfortunately, some in the judicial system lend them their ears. Unfortunately, they have the ear of people in the cancerous cells in our country, striving to establish a religious state.
"This is true Islam. I represent true Islam, so they accused me of heresy and blasphemy and said that I despise Islam. They consider Hanafi, Shadi'i, Maliki, Bukhari, and other [schools of] jurisprudence to be the religion [of Islam]. But this is religiosity. Real Islam is the doctrine and shari'a law. The doctrine is the belief in Allah, the angels, His scripture, His Messengers, Judgment Day, and destiny with all that is good and all that is bad. This is the Islamic religion, I did not mention any of those six elements. As for shari'a law, it is about what do and what not to do, as it is in the Quran.
"I do not want presidential amnesty. I want the President to declare me innocent.
"When I was born, in 1945, there was not a single terror organization in the world. Today, they are numerous. Five Islamic countries have been destroyed: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya. Five!"