Egyptian savior of humanity accused of contempt of religion

CAIRO, Egypt - An Egyptian court has renewed the detention of a 45-year-old man who claims he had a revelation appointing him the savior of humanity while serving a jail sentence in Italy, police said Tuesday.

Gamal Abdel Azziz, a manual worker from the Nile Delta town of Zagazig, 60 kilometers (40 miles) northeast of Cairo, was ordered detained 45 days pending investigation, a police official said on condition of anonymity. He already has spent at least two weeks in detention.

Contempt of religion is punishable by a maximum five years in prison.

Abdel Azziz, who returned to Egypt 1 1/2 years ago, told investigators he had received a holy message while serving a three-year sentence in Italy for theft and drug use. He claimed he receives revelations after smoking bango, the Egyptian equivalent of marijuana, and that he would save humanity from its suffering and liberate Jerusalem, the official said.

Word of Abdel Azziz's activities reached investigators after he started receiving people at home to preach to them, the official said.