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Cairo - An Egyptian court has sentenced a Christian man to six years in prison on charges of showing contempt for religion and insulting the Prophet Mohammed, reported the semi-official newspaper Al-Ahram on Thursday.

The court, in the southern Egyptian province of Assiut, said that Makram Diab, a school employee, had made offensive remarks against Islam's prophet, according to the report.

The remarks infuriated Diab's Muslim colleagues, who went on strike until he was arrested and prosecuted.

Earlier this week a Cairo court dismissed a lawsuit against the Christian business tycoon, Naguib Sawiris, who was accused of insulting Islam by tweeting images of Mickey Mouse with a beard and his counterpart Minnie wearing a veil.

Sawiris faces two other lawsuits over the same images.

Recent parliamentary elections have produced a strong showing for Islamists in Egypt, sparking concerns over freedom among liberals and Christians, who make up around 10 per cent of the country's 80-million-strong population. - Sapa-dpa