Facebook Ramadan insult costs Briton Dh3,000 fine

Woman called her female colleague a dictator and a bin Laden follower, a Dubai court has been told.

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DUBAI // A British woman who expressed her hatred of Ramadan on Facebook and called her colleague a "dictator" and a follower of Osama bin Laden on the site, has been fined Dh3,000 by a Dubai Court.

EG, 31, a trainer, was charged at the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours with insulting the Egyptian MJ, 35, online.

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In her statement to prosecutors, MJ said that on the evening of September 4 she saw a "disrespectful" status update about Ramadan on EG's Facebook page. She said she was moved to "chat" with her colleague.

"I told her to not say such things about the holy month as she was in a Muslim country," MJ told prosecutors.

She said EG wrote in reply: "I hope stopping to eat and drink for a month would have an effect on your inner soul and some day open your closed mind."

EG then called MJ stupid and ignorant and told her she was a closed-minded dictator and a follower of bin Laden, according to prosecution records.

When questioned by police, EG denied she had been disrespectful to Islam but admitted posting a status update expressing her dislike of Ramadan.

"She said in her statement that she did not like the woman commenting on her page and chatting with her, because she said she was a fundamentalist," a police officer told prosecutors.

Police referred EG to prosecutors eight months later on charges of insulting a religious creed.

That charge was dismissed by the prosecutor, Haifa Al Marzooqi, who instead referred her to court on insult charges.

EG denied the charges before Judge Mohammed Ahmed Shoaib yesterday, and said no case could be filed as it had not been registered by prosecutors within the three-month limit, so it should be dismissed.

She said she had not been called for questioning by prosecutors until May 30, when they registered the case.

Judge Shoaib dismissed EG's argument and fined her Dh3,000.