Egypt, Unislamic? Please.

July 10, 2007

To the noted commenter “Al,” I figured I’d put this comment front and center, just for you. Cheers.

SG

(Taken from the comments in the blog about Kareem’s Dad Wanting Him Dead.)

Al Says:
June 23rd, 2007 at 6:36 am
This is my first visit to this blog. I’m not sure who wrote the above few paragraph. I’m amazed that the writer is so naive as to even think that Egypt is Islamic, it is reminiscent to saying Europe is Christian.

Ok sure there are a lot of Muslims in Egypt but the government does not operate/conform to Islam. Sure there are cases where an official would favor a Muslim/Non-Muslim and i think this is human nature, i mean look at Bush and Tony Blair and you’ll see what i mean. So please stop insulting Islam and blaming it for everything wrong in the world.

Give me one example of a modern state that follows/applies Islam and then we can judge that special case. Even Saudi Arabia is not applying Islam. I would like to see one political entity that applies Islam and then we can judge it. The only state that is based on religion in today’s world is Israel in my opinion.

saraghorab Says:
July 10th, 2007 at 8:19 pm

To “Al,” who has apparently never been to Egypt in his ever-loving life.

Are you on crack? Do you not watch the news? I mean, it’s obvious you’ve never so much as walked down a Cairo street on a Friday, but calling Egypt “UnIslamic” would only happen if you’ve been watching Fox News or something.

I’m not saying that everyone in the country is necessarily religious, but sharia law IS applied, and anyone who thinks otherwise has never heard of the blogger Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman, whose very recent (a few months old) case proves that sharia IS applied, and that people CAN and ARE arrested and jailed FOR INSULTING ISLAM. Three years for insulting Islam and Egypt isn’t Islamic?

Don’t get me started. Do yourself a favor and actually know what you’re talking about before namecalling. (And YES, ‘naiive’ is a slam on someone whose very LIVELIHOOD comes from analyzing Egypt and her politics. Where’s Egypeter and Clear when I need them??! Come back!)

Some Guys Just Won’t Take No For an Answer

June 19, 2007

 

There she was, a small, shivering figure huddled against the side of a mountain of trash, trying to get warm. She wasn’t lost or alarmed or incoherent, because she’d done this before. In fact, she lived in the trash dump.

 

It’s true. A section of Cairo, Egypt called “Zabaleen” is populated by humans… and the garbage they produce. Where you or I would have a policeman or a weird yuppie couple that only come out at night as our neighbors, this girl shared living space with beer cans and mango pits and wrappers of McDonald’s sandwiches she could never afford, that many in Egypt could never afford.

 

Anyway, Naama, a 16-year-old runaway who was nonetheless meting out a living in this “trashy” neighborhood, was trying to get warm, snuggling with a pile of banana peels and torn sneakers. Out of nowhere comes a young man. Maybe he’s cold, too, but he shuns a cuddle with the banana peels and heads straight for Naama,

 

She tells him to get lost, but her assertiveness flags as his aggressiveness increases. It becomes clear that mere snuggling isn’t the way he means to get warm.

 

He beats her, and, while she’s successful in keeping herself from his attempted rape, the blows end up killing her.

 

Tragic, right? Too bad this is only the beginning of her story.

 

Because even after her body lay lifelessly in his arms, he decided that he was going to get what he had set out to get. So he proceeded to attack the late Naama… in the manner of a necrophiliac. Yes, he had sex with her corpse.

 

Unfortunately, her body wasn’t through being abused, because Naama (may God rest her soul) was then thrown into the street by the pervert that had defiled her dead body. As the perpetrator—a youth named Ahmed—had hoped, her lifeless form was run over by cars and buses.

 

I hope you’re not thinking that I’m going to make this into a “Christian Vs. Muslim” thing, because I’m not. It’s merely a case of a sick guy being able to fulfill his sick desires, and not get punished for it. Not because he was a MUSLIM, and therefore protected, but because SHE was a *Christian*.

 

If she had been a Muslim, this case would have been more known-about, and he would be getting a stiffer sentence. As it is, however, this article is the only English-language recounting of Naama’s story (And a few months after the fact, as it is.).

 

Then again, the Egyptian media, state run, never includes anything about these atrocities, so that the citizens of Egypt almost never hear about these cases that are, unfortunately, happening more and more as the months go by.

 

Talking of which, some crazy things have been going down in Alexandria and the Saiid, of late, and I’ll soon have the stories for you. As usual, I truly hate being the bearer of such bad news, but better upset and informed than blissfully ignorant. After all, ignorance never helped anyone save lives and change the world.

 

Sara Ghorab

https://saraghorab.wordpress.com

 

Egyptian Blogger’s Dad Wants Him Dead

March 7, 2007

By Sara Ghorab, with  J. Ahmed Salib, M.D. If you have been following the saga of the Egyptian Blogger, otherwise known as Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman (or Kareem Amer or just plain Kareem), then you know he’s the first person in Egypt to be prosecuted on charges of spreading ill will towards Egypt and Islam, both of which he’s belonged to since birth. And both of which he should, in any sane, free and “democratic” society, be allowed to do.  

(I won’t speak to the question of “Is he guilty?” right here, because I spent another whole article doing just that, read it here https://saraghorab.wordpress.com/2007/02/14/egypt%e2%80%99s-new-torture-device/  if you want.) You may not know, however, about the latest breaks in the case, reported in several news sources and even more blogs: for example, you may be disheartened to learn that Kareem was, on 22 February, sentenced to four years in prison—three for insulting Islam, and just one for insulting President Mubarak.  

And a report about the latest update (http://www.freekareem.org/2007/02/22/reporters-without-borders-this-sentence-is-a-disgrace-a-slap-in-the-face/ ) likened the sentence to a “slap in the face,” which was sadly ironic, for an AP reporter claimed to hear the sound of a slap and a cry of pain just minutes after Kareem’s sentence was handed down. (May the hand of Kareem’s slapper fall off.) Talking of sentencing, Kareem’s own lawyer, Gamal Eid, was said to be “pessimistic” about the outcome of the case beforehand, although he’s reported more faith in the actual appeal he’s planning to file. (Thanks be to God that
Egypt actually allows appeals to be filed.. not that this makes the Kafka-esque mockery of a trial any easier to swallow, but.. I suppose we need to crawl before we run marathons..)
 

And if that less-than-sunny update is disheartening, then my thesaurus doesn’t have a word to express the dishearteningness-to-the-400th-power of the fact that Kareem’s father, a retired instructor of mathematics/engineer of Agriculture, recently called for his son to be executed if he does not “repent” in three days.  An article in Al Masry El Youm even mentioned that Kareem’s dad (I should probably call him something less warm and fuzzy, how about “the donor who made Kareem’s life possible, but who’d like to rescind that gift if his offspring will not re-embrace the religion of peace and love”) had changed his mind about skipping the trial and decided to instead show up with his four other sons, each of whom had reportedly memorized the Kor’an.  

Apparently, The Donor felt as though his presence would neutralize the effect/damage of what he calls “monkey rights organizations” who have been helping promote the case. (He also called his son a monkey… I wonder if anyone told him that they are related, so if Kareem is a monkey, then that makes his father an even bigger monkey.) The Donor went on (in another article) to blame prominent Egyptian feminist Dr. Nawal el Saadawi and Coptic godfather Adly Abadeer for encouraging Kareem’s infidel-ness, and the internet for introducing his son to scores of like-minded (or all-out “badly-influencing”) online pals. (Read more here: http://www.freekareem.org/2007/02/20/kareem%e2%80%99s-father-talks-to-egyptian-newspaper/ and here: http://www.freekareem.org/2007/02/18/kareem%e2%80%99s-family-disowns-him-father-wants-him-killed-if-he-does-not-%e2%80%9crepent%e2%80%9d/ ) 

Interesting, isn’t it, how he decries the internet in one breath, but has announced his intention to publicly disown Kareem using that very same vehicle? And sad, isn’t it, how a person would embrace something (religion, in this case) so tightly that he cut off oxygen to his brain and made threats against his own son (aloud!)?  

Oh, sorry.. I meant, it’s sad, is it not, that a person would embrace a religion so tightly that he would have no room left in his heart for his own flesh and blood.  But that’s not even the worst of it; worse is the question that still needs answering—does Kareem’s father  (who asked al Azhar to apply Sharia law in order to get his unrepentant son killed) represent a fanatical splinter of an otherwise peaceful religion…or is he one of the ones that are authentic, well-versed, and truly-devoted-to-a-religion-they’ve-studied-more-than-in-depth?  

Unfortunately (and this report comes from a close friend of one of the family members) it seems as though the latter is more accurate. By this friend’s account, Kareem’s father has always been fanatical about his religion, forbidding television and computer from his house, and forcing his young (grade-school) daughters to wear the neqab (the over-head tent that only leaves women’s eyes free).  But is the fanaticism a feature of the adherent… or the religion itself? 

Another nail in Islam’s coffin is that if Sharia law (which moderate Muslims can’t really denounce as being inaccurate or anti-Islamic or unrepresentative of their faith) does indeed call for, or at least allow, the execution of someone who converted out of the religion or defamed it or even refused to convert into it—then no one with two gray cells to his name can ever argue that Islam is peaceful, forgiving, tolerant, or in-line with human rights, equality, freedom of expression and/or thought, etc. In other words, if Sharia allows this form of murder, then it follows that Islam can never allow modernity to happen, and that true Muslims only have one goal, to keep the globe in darkness and take over the world. 

If Islam is a religion of peace, then how can a man—devoutly Islamic, by most accounts—call for the execution of his own son? How can a government consider imprisoning a young man for his opinions? Where is the peace, equality, freedom or humanity in that?  If Islam is a religion of peace then Muslims must reject the trial/sentencing and the Donor’s call for blood. If Islam is peace, and
Egypt is Islamic, then
Egypt must drop the charges against Kareem and every good Muslim must stand with Kareem.
 

And, because “Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage,” then the Egyptian government must abandon the virtual manacles she has placed on her citizens and allow them to speak—or write—their minds. (Hat tip to Richard Lovelace for his fab quote.)

If Islam supports this travesty against Kareem—and, indeed, all freedom and equality— then Egypt has no right to drive cars or check email or use ballpoint pens, and I call for donkeys, papyrus and feather pens to be reinstated there. 

And if you want to keep using modern technology,
Egypt, you can’t go on about how horrible modernity is and yet keep using it, especially to end modernity (or the usage of it by anyone not in agreement with you…Talk about double standards.).
 I fully understand that a Muslim can’t fully support other religions or a dissing of their own, but who set Muslims as the guardians of where I spend the next life?  

By what right can they go around converting people forcibly, or kill those who resist?  This is not to say that I agree with the tenets of Islam or paganism or any religion other than my own, but I recognize the moral imperative of freedom, of allowing them to make their own choices (even if I think that their choice may land them in hell for eternity. Of course, I have the responsibility to tell them what I believe to be the true way to heaven, but I can’t force them! Would any sane god accept a forced conversion? Oh, too bad “allah” isn’t sane.. or real.).  

No one said Muslims had to think Christians are going to heaven—only that they give us the right to choose hell if we want. (And it’s not like we think they’re going to heaven, either, but then, neither do Orthodox think Protestants will ever meet St. Pete..) No one said Muslims have to hang out with infidels—but we will miss your company (here and in heaven.). 

No one said that a world of 100% Islam would automatically be a peaceful place, so why strive for it, you know? Mmm. Are we agreed? 

Good. No more fighting then? Truce?  It’s really too bad for world peace and harmony and freedom and democracy that no true Muslims could (or would) ever agree with these conditions—not because they’re horrible people, but because of the conditions Islam places on them. 

To quote the essay that got Kareem four years: “Muslims have taken the mask off to show their true hateful face, and they have shown the world that they are at the top of their brutality, inhumanity, and thievery.  

They have clearly shown their worst features and have shown that in dealing with others they are not governed by any moral codes…For as long as Islam exists on this planet all your efforts to end wars and disputes and upheavals will fail because Islam’s dirty finger will be found behind every catastrophic event to humanity.”  (Source: http://www.annaqed.com/english/under/expelled_from_al_azhar_for_exposing_the_truth.html ) 

Interview With the SG in Mideast Connect

March 7, 2007

I’m the one at the top, for now.

Will The Real Sara Please Stand Up?

March 4, 2007

Today’s message is this: PLEASE do not be fooled by one or two other Saras out there. I have just been informed that there is/are other/s out there with the same name who either hate Egypt, Copts, or whatever. This is NOT the Sara G. you know and love/love to hate. I don’t know how to “asbetlokom” what are the things I say, but let’s just say that

First: I almost never comment on blogs or other pages (if you suspect something, leave me a comment here and I’ll address it)

and

Second: Always hear someone through before jumping to conclusions.

You may be wondering if/why this is important enough for me to mention, since many of my dear friends and readers are, themselves, bloggers.

The reason is this: since I publish articles and columns in Copts United and Annaqed and other things like this, I am somewhat prone to getting threats and the like, and am in danger of reprisal from State Security (if they ever read my things, which I don’t think they have until now, thank God).

All I’m trying to say is that “My sheep hear my voice and know it,” and so do you. (Not that you’re sheep!🙂

I would appreciate your prayers this weekend, I am up for a new job that would be a considerable step up from my current one. Don’t worry, this won’t affect my proliferation of ideas, for I would rather sleep less than my customary 10 hours than miss out on giving you a piece of my mind…:)

I pray blessings for each of you and yours.

Have a cool Saturday!

Sara G.

Hilarious/Scandalous/Emailabous/Smarvelous

February 26, 2007

A few quick notes to all my friends–frivolous, I know, since poor Kareem is in prison, but I’ll soon have more on him and on other dumb things about my homeland that had better change before I die.

First, I think it’s funny that people keep leaving me messages and hellos on the comments thing, and have stopped commenting on my articles (I’d take hellos any day! Not that I don’t like comments, I’m just trying to be sociable, you know? By the way, to H., I emailed you back months ago but it bounced! My email’s the same if you’d like to say hi and let me know how you were.. and to K, thanks for the offer, hope to see you soon, and to Z, you are a brat.)

Next,THIS is pretty funny, it tells of sex toys (the sale of) being outlawed in Alabama. (I was just signing in to wordpress and this article appeared and made me blush, so I thought I’d share it with you all.. Only in America..)

Third, my email is mzsaraghorab at yahoo.com if anyone needs it, and fourth, I have had several offers to syndicate my column this past week, and want to thank you all for having stuck with me from the very start. (Will tell you where I’ll be if anyone’s interested!)

Have a great week and see you back here real soon,
Sara

Blood In, Blood Out: Why Egyptian Blogger’s Dad Wants Him Dead

February 23, 2007

By Sara Ghorab, with  J. Ahmed Salib, M.D. 

If you have been following the saga of the Egyptian Blogger, otherwise known as Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman (or Kareem Amer or just plain Kareem), then you know he’s the first person in Egypt to be prosecuted on charges of spreading ill will towards Egypt and Islam, both of which he’s belonged to since birth. And both of which he should, in any sane, free and “democratic” society, be allowed to do.  

(I won’t speak to the question of “Is he guilty?” right here, because I spent another whole article doing just that, read it here https://saraghorab.wordpress.com/2007/02/14/egypt%e2%80%99s-new-torture-device/  if you want.) 

You may not know, however, about the latest breaks in the case, reported in several news sources and even more blogs: for example, you may be disheartened to learn that Kareem was, on 22 February, sentenced to four years in prison—three for insulting Islam, and just one for insulting President Mubarak.  

And a report about the latest update (http://www.freekareem.org/2007/02/22/reporters-without-borders-this-sentence-is-a-disgrace-a-slap-in-the-face/ ) likened the sentence to a “slap in the face,” which was sadly ironic, for an AP reporter claimed to hear the sound of a slap and a cry of pain just minutes after Kareem’s sentence was handed down. (May the hand of Kareem’s slapper fall off.) 

Talking of sentencing, Kareem’s own lawyer, Gamal Eid, was said to be “pessimistic” about the outcome of the case beforehand, although he’s reported more faith in the actual appeal he’s planning to file. (Thanks be to God that
Egypt actually allows appeals to be filed.. not that this makes the Kafka-esque mockery of a trial any easier to swallow, but.. I suppose we need to crawl before we run marathons..)
 

And if that less-than-sunny update is disheartening, then my thesaurus doesn’t have a word to express the dishearteningness-to-the-400th-power of the fact that Kareem’s father, a retired instructor of mathematics/engineer of Agriculture, recently called for his son to be executed if he does not “repent” in three days.  

An article in Al Masry El Youm even mentioned that Kareem’s dad (I should probably call him something less warm and fuzzy, how about “the donor who made Kareem’s life possible, but who’d like to rescind that gift if his offspring will not re-embrace the religion of peace and love”) had changed his mind about skipping the trial and decided to instead show up with his four other sons, each of whom had reportedly memorized the Kor’an.  

Apparently, The Donor felt as though his presence would neutralize the effect/damage of what he calls “monkey rights organizations” who have been helping promote the case. (He also called his son a monkey… I wonder if anyone told him that they are related, so if Kareem is a monkey, then that makes his father an even bigger monkey.) 

The Donor went on (in another article) to blame prominent Egyptian feminist Dr. Nawal el Saadawi and Coptic godfather Adly Abadeer for encouraging Kareem’s infidel-ness, and the internet for introducing his son to scores of like-minded (or all-out “badly-influencing”) online pals. (Read more here: http://www.freekareem.org/2007/02/20/kareem%e2%80%99s-father-talks-to-egyptian-newspaper/ and here: http://www.freekareem.org/2007/02/18/kareem%e2%80%99s-family-disowns-him-father-wants-him-killed-if-he-does-not-%e2%80%9crepent%e2%80%9d/ ) 

Interesting, isn’t it, how he decries the internet in one breath, but has announced his intention to publicly disown Kareem using that very same vehicle? 

And sad, isn’t it, how a person would embrace something (religion, in this case) so tightly that he cut off oxygen to his brain and made threats against his own son (aloud!)?  

Oh, sorry.. I meant, it’s sad, is it not, that a person would embrace a religion so tightly that he would have no room left in his heart for his own flesh and blood.  

But that’s not even the worst of it; worse is the question that still needs answering—does Kareem’s father  (who asked al Azhar to apply Sharia law in order to get his unrepentant son killed) represent a fanatical splinter of an otherwise peaceful religion…or is he one of the ones that are authentic, well-versed, and truly-devoted-to-a-religion-they’ve-studied-more-than-in-depth?  

Unfortunately (and this report comes from a close friend of one of the family members) it seems as though the latter is more accurate. By this friend’s account, Kareem’s father has always been fanatical about his religion, forbidding television and computer from his house, and forcing his young (grade-school) daughters to wear the neqab (the over-head tent that only leaves women’s eyes free).  

But is the fanaticism a feature of the adherent… or the religion itself? 

Another nail in Islam’s coffin is that if Sharia law (which moderate Muslims can’t really denounce as being inaccurate or anti-Islamic or unrepresentative of their faith) does indeed call for, or at least allow, the execution of someone who converted out of the religion or defamed it or even refused to convert into it—then no one with two gray cells to his name can ever argue that Islam is peaceful, forgiving, tolerant, or in-line with human rights, equality, freedom of expression and/or thought, etc. 

In other words, if Sharia allows this form of murder, then it follows that Islam can never allow modernity to happen, and that true Muslims only have one goal, to keep the globe in darkness and take over the world. 

If Islam is a religion of peace, then how can a man—devoutly Islamic, by most accounts—call for the execution of his own son? How can a government consider imprisoning a young man for his opinions? Where is the peace, equality, freedom or humanity in that?  

If Islam is a religion of peace then Muslims must reject the trial/sentencing and the Donor’s call for blood. 

If Islam is peace, and
Egypt is Islamic, then
Egypt must drop the charges against Kareem and every good Muslim must stand with Kareem.
 

And, because “Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage,” then the Egyptian government must abandon the virtual manacles she has placed on her citizens and allow them to speak—or write—their minds. (Hat tip to Richard Lovelace for his fab quote.)

 

If Islam supports this travesty against Kareem—and, indeed, all freedom and equality— then Egypt has no right to drive cars or check email or use ballpoint pens, and I call for donkeys, papyrus and feather pens to be reinstated there. 

And if you want to keep using modern technology,
Egypt, you can’t go on about how horrible modernity is and yet keep using it, especially to end modernity (or the usage of it by anyone not in agreement with you…Talk about double standards.).
 

I fully understand that a Muslim can’t fully support other religions or a dissing of their own, but who set Muslims as the guardians of where I spend the next life?  

By what right can they go around converting people forcibly, or kill those who resist?  

This is not to say that I agree with the tenets of Islam or paganism or any religion other than my own, but I recognize the moral imperative of freedom, of allowing them to make their own choices (even if I think that their choice may land them in hell for eternity. Of course, I have the responsibility to tell them what I believe to be the true way to heaven, but I can’t force them! Would any sane god accept a forced conversion? Oh, too bad “allah” isn’t sane.. or real.).  

No one said Muslims had to think Christians are going to heaven—only that they give us the right to choose hell if we want. (And it’s not like we think they’re going to heaven, either, but then, neither do Orthodox think Protestants will ever meet St. Pete..) 

No one said Muslims have to hang out with infidels—but we will miss your company (here and in heaven.). 

No one said that a world of 100% Islam would automatically be a peaceful place, so why strive for it, you know? 

Mmm. Are we agreed? 

Good. No more fighting then? Truce?  

It’s really too bad for world peace and harmony and freedom and democracy that no true Muslims could (or would) ever agree with these conditions—not because they’re horrible people, but because of the conditions Islam places on them. 

To quote the essay that got Kareem four years: 

“Muslims have taken the mask off to show their true hateful face, and they have shown the world that they are at the top of their brutality, inhumanity, and thievery.  

They have clearly shown their worst features and have shown that in dealing with others they are not governed by any moral codes…For as long as Islam exists on this planet all your efforts to end wars and disputes and upheavals will fail because Islam’s dirty finger will be found behind every catastrophic event to humanity.”  

(Source: http://www.annaqed.com/english/under/expelled_from_al_azhar_for_exposing_the_truth.html ) 

Egypt’s New Torture Device

February 14, 2007

Sara Ghorab 

For a country whose torture methods are burning up YouTube and other such arenas,
Egypt has outdone itself in coming up with a new method of torture. No, this punishment has nothing to do with beating by cane, raping by broom-stick, hanging by toes or being handcuffed 24/7. (And yes, Americans will be interested in learning more about this, because it’s your $1.3 billion that’s making these things possible. Talk about adding insult to injury.)
 

Rather,
Egypt, home of The Trumped Up Charge (TM), now “detains” prisoners—many of whom have never been charged or convicted of anything—for weeks, months, or indefinitely.
 

Recently, blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah (among others) was detained for a total of 45 days (the

way
State Security managed to swing that was by “renewing” his lock-up time. Just imagine if that happened to someone in
America!)
 

This seems to be the case in the case of Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman, the most recent victim of
Egypt’s strict Anti-Free-Speech laws, otherwise known as “Sharia,” or better yet, “Islam.”
 

For those who’ve never heard of Abdelkareem (Kareem to his friends), I’d like to inform you that he’s the first Egyptian blogger to actually be brought up on charges and tried (the oft-postponed trial is slated to conclude February 22, but there’s no telling when it could end up happening).  

Back to Kareem’s illegal detention, it’s been going on since early November (2006). The charges didn’t immediately appear, but once they did, it was obvious that not only were they bogus beyond belief, but exceedingly ridiculous (to anyone who subscribes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, anyway). 

Furthermore, Alaa was known for being something of an agitator or instigator. While he may not have started fist-fights with state security, sources tell me that he was not one to back down from them. In other words, he was pretty “in your face” about whatever cause he was championing at the time. Alaa was also very outspoken about freedom and activism and such (in more than one sense). 

On the other hand, Kareem is a lamb (in more than one sense)—both for his gentle and sweet demeanor, and because it seems that he’s being led to the slaughter. (God forbid it 1000 times.) 

Is he guilty? Well, it all depends on what the charges are. He’s guilty of being a great guy, a dear friend to those who know him, well-read and interested in everything to do with freedom and human rights. Do these pastimes merit punishment? I should hope not.

If the charges are “Spreading data and malicious rumors that disrupt public security,” then I’m torn as to his guilt or innocence, because he’s only guilty of spreading the truth, a truth that anyone with a brain could have arrived with on his own. Why should Kareem be the only one punished, then?

In regards to the next charge against him, the one accusing Kareem of “defaming the President of Egypt,” who hasn’t? And if imprisonment came from speaking ill of President Bush, then most of the
U.S. population is in trouble.

Since when is having an opinion a criminal offense? Are we back in the days of our ancestors, when the Pharaoh was a god? Quite the contrary, it is Mubarak who should be on trial for the misallocation of $1.3 billion.

Next charges: “Incitement to overthrow the regime upon hatred and contempt” and “Incitement to hate “Islam” and breach of the public peace standards.”

Come again, WHAT peace standards? Did
Egypt become a giant love-fest when I wasn’t looking? Are Copts and Muslims hanging out and feeding each other grapes and commenting on their good fortune to be Egyptians? No! People are climbing over each other to escape the hell that
Egypt has become under Nasser, Sadat, and our old friend Hosni.

Finally, and as I may have mentioned before, the charge of “Highlighting inappropriate aspects that harm the reputation of
Egypt and spreading them to the public” is the most idiotic one of them all.
1-     Shouldn’t the government be taking measures to make things right so that there AREN’T any inappropriate aspects? 2-    
Egypt’s reputation isn’t great, and there’s only one person to blame for that (and it’s not Kareem!)
3-     Non-great reputations don’t stay secret for long, especially in a country with such a big Diaspora, and such a big percentage of born gossips and complainers.It’s interesting that “hating Islam” is considered a crime, but if the situation were reversed, not one government official would have a problem because someone spoke out against Christianity. (You have to admit that “Love your neighbor” and “Love your enemies” and “Turn the other cheek” have a nicer ring to them than do “Slay the infidels where ye find them” and “Christians and Jews are apes and pigs, so think twice before befriending them!”)But this isn’t about what the “better” religion is (although Egyptian law makes many decisions in favor of the party belonging to “the better religion,” and it isn’t  Christianity, if you catch my drift).This is about who the adult is. (In
Egypt, we have a saying that says “Khaleek enta el Kebeer,” or “You be the adult.”) And I don’t mean that
Egypt should be the parent to punish her son (especially since he did nothing wrong, but never mind that now); rather, I think those in “authority” (and no, you aren’t imagining the haughty and disgusted tone in my voice) should be “big enough” to allow people their own opinions.
After all, if certain religions would realize that their gods are big enough to defend themselves (aren’t they?) without having to rely on humans to go around slaughtering people “in god’s name” (sic) then at least half of the world’s problems would disappear. And if the countries that derive their laws from certain religions would bring about a complete separation of “church and state” (not that I’m talking Christianity here, but anyway) then even more problems would disappear.And if you’re thinking that the similarity between my words here and Kareem’s in “The Essay” (the Maharram Bey one that started all this) proves his “guilt” then you have another think coming, because I’ve been singing the same tune since before Kareem was in diapers.https://saraghorab.wordpress.com 

Nine Years For Nothing: Egyptian Blogger Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman Goes on Trial

January 24, 2007

Sara Ghorabhttps://saraghorab.wordpress.com 

Egyptians have a strong aversion to being compared to animals. Perhaps it’s the centuries of Islamic thought that have made them cringe at the insults “homar,” “hayawan” and “kalb” (donkey, animal, and dog, respectively), but what can you expect from a religion that calls Christians and Jews “apes and pigs”? (And monkeys, for that matter.) 

Nonetheless (or perhaps “Having said that,”), I must take the next logical step and proclaim that the Egyptian Government is not only all of these, but that it would have to improve a great deal in order to become worthy of those titles.  

That’s right. I just heard what’s been happening to Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman, otherwise known as “The Egyptian Blogger,”  and I have to say that I’m about three centimeters from “going postal.” 

It’s not enough that the criminals “running” the country allow egregious double standards in order to protect the sick way they do things—oh, you don’t know what I’m talking about?  

Well, imagine that you’re a Christian and you kill a Muslim. You get the death penalty.  

But if a Muslim kills a Christian, he may not even get a month in jail.  

If a Muslim speaks out against Christians, or beats them up, or helps kidnap their girls, he is praised as a true Egyptian or a religious hero.  

But if you’re a Christian speaking against Islam, the penalty is stiff.   

(Since Islam is “the better religion” and all. Yeah. So better, in fact, that it either allows or does not forbid the mistreatment you’re going to read about here today. And if it doesn’t allow it, then maybe everyone in the government, police, etc. should be charged with not following Islam, kind of like certain people in Egyptian jails were recently asked “Do you fast during Ramadan? Do you pray?” and other such *gems.) 

And if you’re a Muslim speaking against Islam, the “religion of peace,” then the penalty is as hard as the floor you get to sleep on, or the lead pipe you might soon feel against the your skull or the backs of your legs. 

But you might not know what I’m talking about yet. Don’t worry, you will.  

For those of you unfamiliar with Kareem and his case, let me give you a quick rundown: 

In late 2005, there were several riots in the neighborhood of Maharram Bey (also spelled “Moharram Bek” and the like) in
Alexandria, Egypt.
 

Four were killed, a nun was stabbed, and thousands of Muslims overtook the streets like rabid cattle, destroying Copt-owned property and businesses, looting and stealing what they could find. (Copts are indigenous Egyptian Christians, by the way).                           This was somewhat unprecedented, since anti-Coptic movements, whether targeting property or “illegally-built churches” (don’t ask.. well, ok—you have to get the signature of the governor or president if you want to fix, modify, or build a church, even though Muslims don’t need such high-level approval to do the same for their mosques) or human life had heretofore been restricted (for the most part) to villages in the Saiid, Upper Egypt.  

That’s not to say that violence never happened in the more cosmopolitan cities of Cairo (the nation’s capital) or Alexandria (the Mediterranean-lying heaven that Kareem was born and raised in), only that it’s such things as tourism, more exposure to the West, and more people per square inch that likely keep these towns at a less “fighting with the flies on the wall” state of affairs.  

Sure,
Egypt has never been an easy place for Christians to live, what with the persecution and restrictions and double standards—but all in all, Coptic-Muslim relations aren’t quite as bad as in the villages.
 

These Maharram Bey riots, however, sparked a string of seemingly Islam-driven events against Christians, including knife attacks in several
Alexandria churches.
(I bring Islam into this only because perpetrators were heard yelling “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) as they lunged for their quarry or drove the steel into their victims.) 

Kareem, then a 21-year-old law student at Al Azhar, witnessed the riots first-hand, and went on to write an article about it.  

Annaqed.com writer Ahmed Salib (www.ahmedsalib.com) says that the article in question was published on October 23, 2005, and methodically went about “condemning the riot, and, indeed, the entire Islamic religion; [Kareem] was subsequently arrested on 26 October 2005 for the inflammatory not-quite-rhetoric, entitled ‘The naked truth about Islam as I saw it in Maharram Beh.’ It first appeared on his blog (in Arabic), but you can read my translation here:“The Muslims have taken the mask off to show their true hateful face, and they have shown the world that they are at the top of their brutality, inhumanity, and thievery.They have clearly shown their worst features and have shown that in dealing with others they are not governed by any moral codes.From what I have seen yesterday of the events at Maharram Beh, which were quite shameful, and have shown me more facts that they have tried to cover over the centuries, they have indicated that Islam is a religion of peace and forgiveness, but their true face has been uncovered to show barbarism and thievery and fanaticism and not acknowledging others, and attempting to remove them from existence.”(Source: http://www.annaqed.com/english/under/expelled_from_al_azhar_for_exposing_the_truth.html )He was released soon after, and all was silent.  

For a while.  

Then, in early 2006, he was expelled from Al Azhar, the most prestigious Islamic University in the world. Several attempts were made on his safety and his life, but he managed to escape every time. 

Kareem emailed a friend on October 29th, 2006, saying that he was to be detained in the next few days, and held for questioning. Then he was taken in.  

Kareem has been “detained” since early November, awaiting the trial that will determine his release date. At that time, the charges against him included:

  • Spreading data and malicious rumors that disrupt public security
  • Defaming the President of
    Egypt
  • Incitement to overthrow the regime upon hatred and contempt
  • Incitement to hate “Islam” and breach of the public peace standards
  • Highlighting inappropriate aspects that harm the reputation of
    Egypt and spreading them to the public

(Source: http://www.hrinfo.net/en/reports/2006/pr1107.shtml ) Unfortunately for the current Egyptian government, it’s their practices that are inappropriate, not to mention in violation of Articles 18 and 19 of the **Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And the notion that Kareem harmed the reputation of
Egypt is absurd—The government itself  is the one guilty of harming the reputation of
Egypt!
Do they really think they can abuse their citizens and then ask these victims to hide the crimes that they,
Egypt, have carried about against them? It’s a good thing the government is  not the one on trial, because they have a real shot at an insanity plea.
But back to Kareem.The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information had this to say about the bogus charges: 

“It is noteworthy that the claim no. 6677/2006 filed against Kareem in Mohram Bek Prosecution,
Alexandria included arbitrary accusations which are considered to be in violation of the right to freedom of expression; a violation targeting Egyptian writers, intellectuals, and political activists for almost 50 years.”
 

(Source: http://www.hrinfo.net/en/reports/2006/pr1107.shtml ) 

Despite the unpopularity of Kareem’s actual thoughts, there are apparently many in the Middle East who nonetheless feel that he should have the right to think them (and write about them), because the following organizations are just some of the ones who got involved with supporting Kareem’s release.  Check out who was involved in November:
From

Egypt:
1. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
2. The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement
3. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
4. Association for Human Rights Legal Aid
5.

Habi
Center
for Environmental Rights
6.

Al-Nadeem
Center
for Psychological Rehabilitation and Treatment of Victims of Violence
7.

Hisham
Mubarak
Law
Center

8.


Land
Center
for Human Rights
9. Shomuu Association for Human Rights and People with Disabilities
10.

Egyptian
Center
for Human Rights
11. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
12. The Civil Observatory of Human Rights
13.

Al-Ganob
Center
for Human Rights

From
Bahrain
:
14.

Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights
 

(Source: http://www.hrinfo.net/en/reports/2006/pr1111.shtml ) 

And the number of Kareem supporters (“freedom of speech supporters,” if you think about it) champing at the bit, desperate for information on the impending case has been growing by leaps and bounds. 

Well, the trial began last week, on January 18th, although the lawyers have asked for time to review the case, causing the court to re-adjourn on January 25th. Until then, however, the following letter was sent to the Egyptian Minister of Justice: 

Mr. Mamdouh Marei
Egyptian Minister of Justice

Paris, 22 January 2007

Dear Minister,

Reporters Without Borders and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, organizations that defend freedom of expression, would like to ask you to intercede on behalf of blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman (better known by the name of Kareem Amer), whose trial is due to start on 25 January in Alexandria. Held since 6 November, he faces up to nine years in prison for posting articles critical of Islam on his blog (www.karam903.blogspot.com).

We hope you will follow this case closely and ensure that this young blogger is released soon. The freedom with which Mr. Suleiman expresses himself may cause displeasure, but he must assume responsibility for what he writes, which poses no danger to national security. A prison sentence would therefore bring disgrace on the Egyptian judicial system and sully your country’s image. Particularly because Article 151 of Egyptian Constitution stipulates that any agreement signed and ratified by
Egypt becomes part of domestic law and applied like any other legislation.
Egypt
is a state party to the International Covenant for Civil and Political Right, in which articles 18 and 19 clearly stipulate everyone’s right to freedom of expression, opinion, thought, conscience and religion. Subsequently, no one should ever be imprisoned for a press offence or for the views they express.

We would also like to draw your attention to the harsh conditions in which this young blogger is being held and the worrying state of his health. He has been in solitary confinement for more than two months. This has left him very weak and has affected him psychologically.

We trust you will give this matter your careful consideration.

Respectfully,

Robert Ménard
Secretary-General
Reporters without borders

Gamal Eid
Executive Director
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information”
(Source: http://www.hrinfo.net/en/reports/2007/pr0122.shtml) 

It should be noted that despite the spate of Egyptian bloggers’ arrests in the past year, Kareem is the first Egyptian blogger to actually face charges and be tried in court.  

In the best-case scenario, the psychopaths that are crazy enough to have taken him into custody will snap out of it and release him pronto. 

If that doesn’t happen, then Kareem might be jailed for up to nine years for expressing his not-at-all-radical thoughts.  

Keep in mind that he’s being treated badly now, and it’s just supposed to be a detention (meaning he hasn’t even been sentenced yet, meaning this doesn’t even count as jail time. As of now, he’s just “in custody,” illegally, for “punitive reasons,” and because they deem him a “flight risk”). 

Reports have said that he’s getting one meal every two days, and his own lawyer said that the young man was severely fatigued and exhausted. Apart from starving him, there’s no telling if the hired thugs/guards have been torturing him or exposing him to sub-human conditions and/or severe sleep deprivation techniques. 

Varied accounts have Kareem in solitary confinement as a punishment, as a protection from other prisoners, so that the guards can mistreat him even more than the other prisoners, or even at his own request.  

And there’s no telling what could happen if he ends up in jail for months or years (since the guards and other prisoners are, undoubtedly, more into Islam than Kareem is). 

And if things go less well… he could get the death penalty. For insulting Mubarak and insulting Islam.  

And unfortunately, there are many Egyptians who think Kareem deserves the worst for criticizing a government that cannibalizes the very people it’s supposed to be protecting, and the religion that’s the basis for it.  

Too bad these people don’t know Kareem—his kindness, his good heart, his sweet smile, his love of art and foreign film—or realize how he’s an ardent supporter of freedom, liberty, women’s rights, equality, and other values that sane people generally have. (Though I must say that Kareem is enough of a Mensch to fight for the freedom of speech and rights of people whose ideas he disagrees with, and would likely fight for the freedoms of the very people who are happy to diss and dismiss him.) 

Too bad these people are so hateful that they could smile upon hearing a verdict of nine years or death, just over a wee bit of (much needed) constructive criticism directed towards a country that’s going down the tubes, and a religion whose basic premises are inequality and violence. (As evidenced by… hmm. This case?) 

If that’s all it takes, then “Mubarak is the son of a washer woman, and the prophet is dodging flames with the Marquis de Sade as we speak.” 

Yalla, Egyptian Government, come and get me too. But I won’t be the only one.  

The streets will be lined with courageous Copts and free-thinkers and moderate Muslims and atheists and Westerners, and you will never be able to arrest us all.  

But even if you did, it would be worth it!  

It would be an honor to stand with a young man who had enough cajones to not only voice an opinion that may be less-than-popular in Egypt, but to fight for those who have no voice, even if he disagrees with what they’re saying.  

Which is more than I can say for some people. 

~ 

* See http://www.hrinfo.net/en/reports/2006/pr1107.shtml for more on the illegal and unethical questioning tactics from the early November interrogation. 

** “Article 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948, states:

Article 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change religion or belief, the freedom to manifest religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, and teaching either alone or in community with others and in public or private.”

Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”(Source: http://www.hrinfo.net/en/reports/2006/pr1111.shtml )  

Me and Clear.. (Re: Copts and Protestantism)

January 19, 2007

To my friend the convert to Coptic Orthodoxy–Clear and I were born into the protestant/evangelical branch of Christianity, but we are “Coptic” inasmuch as we are Egyptian and Christian (though some say that all Egyptians are Copts.. but I won’t touch that one with a hundred-foot-pole.)

Also, despite your conversion, you are not a Copt, but belong to the Coptic Orthodox faith. It’s a bloodline, not a religion. (So if I became an athiest, God forbid, then I will still be Copt.)

Some recommended reading if you’re interested:

http://www.xculturemag.com/bishai13.html (Who are the copts?)

and

http://www.xculturemag.com/bishai21.html (What? Protestant Copts?)

both by Sally Bishai, the champion of the young Coptic Protestant movement.

Good luck to you..


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