EGYPT APPEARS TO be trying to make the crime of "offending Islam" a worldwide one. Or perhaps it just wishes to offer a bone to the mob. Its prosecutor-general has put out an arrest warrant for two Canadians and several other Coptic Christians allegedly involved in the making of "Innocence of Muslims," the anti-Prophet Mohammed film that has sparked deadly riots in some Muslim countries.
It might be primarily a symbolic gesture, but it does, in effect, put people on notice everywhere that taking issue with Islam is a dangerous thing to do. The prosecutor says the charges in the warrant (which also include causing sectarian violence and harming Egyptian independence) carry a possible death sentence.
This is a strange approach for a nascent democracy, and a bad signal from the Muslim Brotherhood, which holds power.
The two Canadians cited in the warrant say they had no involvement in the film. Of course Canada would not extradite them to Egypt. But their travels in the Arab and Muslim world must surely now be limited.
This country should make it clear to Egypt that Canada does not appreciate the threat, symbolic or otherwise, of prosecution and death against its people.
The Globe and Mail, Toronto