Police secures a street after a Greek Orthodox priest was shot and injured at a church in the centre of Lyon, France. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Egyptian Islamic authorities have referred a preacher to prosecution after he voiced backing for killing those who defame or lampoon Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and praised a perpetrator of a recent fatal attack in France, an Awqaf official has said.

The case involves Ahmed Hammam, a preacher at the Awqaf directorate in Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria, who defended the recent knife attack in France and praised the perpetrator as a “descendant” of Islam’s seventh century warrior Khaled Bin Al Walid, head of the Awqaf Ministry’s Religious Sector Jaber Taya was quoted as saying in the local media Tuesday.

In May, a committee of Islamic scholars recommended that Hammam be barred from delivering public sermons and transferred to a research job, accusing him of failing to comply with “moderate, enlightened” discourse, Taya added.

“His file will be presented to administrative prosecution to take a decision against his continued incitement,” said the official.

On Thursday, a knife-wielding man believed to be a Tunisian killed three people in a church in Nice in southern France.

Calls have mounted in the Muslim world for boycotting the French goods after French President Emmanuel Macron was quoted as saying that his country would not give up the caricatures depicting Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and defended the right to publish them.

Macron’s controversial remarks came after a French history teacher was beheaded outside a school in a Paris suburb for showing the cartoons earlier this month.

Macron sought this week to defuse tensions with Muslims, saying that his government did not stand behind the republication of the offensive caricatures.