Egypt to prosecute 'prophet' and disciples

A self-proclaimed prophet and 12 of his followers on Tuesday were referred for trial by a state security court on charges of profaning religion, judicial sources said.

Ahmed Ibrahim Ahmed, a trader from north Cairo, led the group that included three women, the sources added.

They were charged with "promoting extremist ideas" that violate the teachings of Islam.

Ahmed allegedly claimed to be a prophet and said he possessed divine powers and was above sin.

He allegedly also obliged followers to sign papers expressing willingness to commit suicide if they failed to gain new adherents.

Police said they seized videotapes at Ahmed's house in which he also claimed to have healing powers, and another that recommended "visiting tombs" rather than the holy Kaaba monument in the Saudi holy city of Mecca.

If convicted on the charges of deriding revealed religion, the suspects face up to three years in jail.