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 )