Lawyer refers to dictionary in trial accusing man of insulting Islam


The lawyer of an engineer jailed in Abu Dhabi for insulting Islam by referring to “damn” mosques has insisted a UAE court look up the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The Briton, an engineer who was in charge of a project to build gardens around mosques, is alleged to have asked a colleague “When will we finish with the damn mosques?” according to a police report.

But the lawyer of the engineer this week asked a translator during the trial to look up the meaning of the word “damn.”

“The first meaning for the word ‘damned’ says: ‘According to Christianity, a damned (person) is someone who God is angered with forever... the second meaning says ‘damn’ can be used for strong criticism in an unofficial way and is a way of expressing anger,” read out the translator at the Appeals Court, according to a report from The National.

“You were accused of saying ‘damn mosques’ during a meeting, what do you say about that,” the Appeals Court judge asked the engineer, the newspaper reported.

But the defense lawyer interrupted, saying the evidence was invalid and that the case should be dropped.

“We have to carry out our procedures and ask the defendant,” the judge replied. “Are you afraid he will say something now that will give us proof? He has already been questioned in court before.”

The Briton, named JM by the newspaper, has pleaded not guilty to insulting Islam and said he respects the religion.

“I said it out of concern for the project because I wanted to be ready as soon as possible,” he said at the appeal trial, after already being sentenced to a month in prison by the Misdemeanor Court.

The Appeals Court and will announce its new verdict on April 30, the newspaper stated.

(Written by Eman El-Shenawi)