The state news agency Mena said on Sunday the two editions would not be able to enter the country under a decree issued by Anas el-Feki, the information minister.

"They published articles which disparaged Islam and claimed that the Islamic religion was spread by the sword and that the prophet ... was the prophet of evil," it said.

The edition of the German newspaper, dated September 16, contains an article by Egon Flaig, a German historian, looking at how the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was a successful military leader during his lifetime.

"They published articles which disparaged Islam and claimed that the Islamic religion was spread by the sword and that the prophet ... was the prophet of evil"

Egypt's state news agency

Flaig presents other arguments supporting the view that Islam has had a violent history.

The Egyptian agency said: "The minister of information said that he would not allow any publication that insults the Islamic religion or calls for hatred or contempt of any religion to be distributed inside Egypt."

It did not link the articles to Pope Benedict's speech in Germany on September 12, in which he quoted a Byzantine emperor as making similar remarks about Islam and the Prophet Mohammad.

The Egyptian government rarely bans mainstream European newspapers or magazines.