Islamic publishing house releases 'forged Bible,' angering church

Cairo, Egypt - An Islamic publishing house in Egypt has published what is says is a "forged" version of the Christian Bible, angering the local Coptic Church, independent daily al-Masry al-Youm reported Thursday.

The owner of the Islamic Enlightenment Publishing House, Abuislam Abdullah, wrote in the introduction that the reason behind the book's publication was to prove that there are several versions of the bible and that Christians had forged theirs.

Abdullah claims that the version he published was written before the Book of Genesis, the Christian Old Testament.

The Coptic Church says it is extremely offended by the publication of this book, and is considering filing a complaint with Egypt's Attorney General, al-Masry al-Youm reported.

Relations between Coptic Christians, who make up around 10 per cent of the population, and the Egyptian state and Muslim majority are often tense.

The head of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenouda III, told followers earlier this week that the state was wiretapping their calls and that they should not confess sins over the phone.

Violent clashes have taken place in several areas of the country between Muslims and Christians over the past year.