Anyone who knows about the wonderful freedoms today’s Islamic Egypt affords her citizens will be surprised to hear that a harmless 22-year-old blogger who wrote an anti-Islamic essay was thrown into jail recently.
Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman, 21 at the time, actually saw late 2005’s Moharam Bey riots firsthand, and then wrote about them on his blog. He also labeled the religion of his birth, Islam, a “dirty religion” and spoke of its dangers. Shortly thereafter, he was taken in for questioning and detained for several days.
Fast forward to the start of this year, and he was actually expelled from Islamic university Al Azhar. (Read this http://www.annaqed.com/english/under/expelled_from_al_azhar_for_exposing_the_truth.html article for background and a translation of his inflammatory blog posting.)All was well for a while, but then the trouble began again.
Abdelkareem was profiled on an Al Jazeera documentary about bloggers, making his face—which had previously appeared on his blog and on the first “Free Kareem” campaign—even more famous.While many Moderate Muslims (some of them bloggers) defended him despite his defamation of their religion (and keep in mind that he himself was born Muslim), many of the people Abdelkareem daily came into contact with began to treat him differently.
For example, one source tells me that several businesses took him aside and kindly asked him to stay away from their shops until the hubbub died down. Other shopkeepers were not so kind in their requests.And let’s not forget the time Abdelkareem went to Al Azhar to collect his papers and documents, and ended up being attacked by security officials and others, most of whom were armed. (He managed to escape in a taxi, thankfully.)Now, however, Abdelkareem faces a new problem (read http://ahmedsalib.wordpress.com/2006/10/30/from-speaking-his-mind-to-expulsion-from-al-azhar-abdelkareem-nabil-solimans-new-dilemma/ for a closer look).
He was thrown into jail for continuing to speak what was in his mind and heart, two parts of him that worked (and work) in concert with one another (a rarity in this day and age), existing solely to bring about utter human rights and equality for everyone.
Many of you may remember blogger Alaa’s (www.manalaa.net) similar imprisonment earlier this year, as well as the arrests and detentions of several other Muslim Egyptian activist/bloggers.You may also remember the goings-on revolving Coptic blogger Hala el Masry (http://saraghorab.wordpress.com/2006/06/25/hala-masreya/ ) who has been in and out of the presence of State Security. Point being, Egypt hasn’t shown much mercy to pro-Islamic bloggers (Alaa, Malek X, etc.), or to anti-State Security bloggers (perhaps not so much ANTI as “Telling it like it is”), and so I worry about Abdelkareem.
I worry about the hired thugs—I mean “policemen” who will be “tending” him. And no, I’m not worried about the safety of the thugs, but Abdelkareem’s safety as he is “tended” by them. (Have a look at this video for a glimpse at one of the things the “tender” tenders are famous for: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLawR1gKGSg )
The question now is “WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP KAREEM AND EGYPTIANS?”. The answer is this: Take a few minutes to read up about Abdelkareem, tell as many people as you know about his case, and consider signing a petition. (http://www.freekareem.org/ and http://www.hamsaweb.com/c2/home.php?id=Kareem )
Basically, we need Egypt to know that we’re watching them. We need the thugs and idiots who allow this type of thing to go on (and I’m not necessarily talking about Mubarak here) to FEEL the wrath that normal, non-sociopathic people feel when they see fellow humans being beaten or tortured or attacked or killed—just because their opinion isn’t a popular one. Or because their opinion isn’t popular with the people in power. http://saraghorab.wordpress.com