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Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 21:57 GMT
Egypt TV series 'needs anti-Jew warning'
A woman walks past a poster for Horseman Without A Horse
US groups have already criticised the series

In the first domestic criticism of its kind, an Egyptian human rights group has rebuked the state broadcasting authority for showing a television series widely criticised as anti-Semitic.

The Egyptian Human Rights Organisation urged all Arab television channels showing the series, Horseman without a Horse, to broadcast a warning that it contained lies about Jews.

The television series has been appearing on both Egyptian and other Arab channels for the past two weeks, despite protests from Jewish groups and the United States.

The head of the human rights group, Hafez Abu Seida, told the BBC that spreading views hostile to Jews breeds hatred which in turn causes bloodshed.

'Contains untruths'

Well before it was aired, American officials and Jewish groups in the US urged the Egyptian authorities to drop the series.

Comedian Ahmed Bedir at a meeting supporting the showing of the film
Egyptian stars, such as comedian Ahmed Bedir, support the series
But the Egyptian government has defended it.

The information ministry said stopping the series would violate freedom of expression.

The series is in part a dramatisation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion - a document which alleges a Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world.

Historians believe that the document was forged in Tsarist Russia, as a pretext for the persecution of Jews.

In a statement issued in Cairo, the Egyptian Human Rights Organisation said the current hostility towards Israel - over its conduct in the Palestinian territories - should not mean that anti-Jewish views could be condoned.

This was particularly the case, it said, when the Arab world was asking the West to condemn prejudice against Muslims.

See also:

16 Nov 02 | Middle East
07 Nov 02 | Middle East
20 Oct 00 | Middle East
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