Egyptian Student Sentenced To Three Years For Announcing On Facebook That He Is An Atheist

200px-Facebook.svg125px-Flag_of_Egypt.svgOur erstwhile ally Egypt has again violated the most basic civil liberties in a criminal case involving blasphemy. An Egyptian court has sentenced student Karim al-Banna, 21, to three years in jail for announcing on Facebook that he is an atheist and for insulting Islam. His own father testified against him and denounced his son for “was embracing extremist ideas against Islam.” Of course, neither Egypt nor the father view criminalizing someone’s mere speech about religion to be an “extremist idea.”

Al-Banna’s name appeared on a public listing of “known atheists” in a local newspaper and he was hounded by Muslim neighbors who called for his arrest. He went to his local police to complain and they promptly arrested him and charged him with being an atheist and insulting Islam. He is only the latest person charged with such an offense as Egypt continues to enforce its medieval blasphemy law.

As discussed in column yesterday in the Washington Post, we continue to flirt with the concept of speech crimes related to religion. For many years, I have been writing about the threat of an international blasphemy standard and the continuing rollback on free speech in the West. For recent columns, click here and here and here.

Much of this writing has focused on the effort of the Obama Administration to reach an accommodation with allies like Egypt and Pakistan to develop a standard for criminalizing anti-religious speech.  We have been following the rise of anti-blasphemy laws around the world, including the increase in prosecutions in the West and the support of the Obama Administration for the prosecution of some anti-religious speech under the controversial Brandenburg standard.

These cases reflect the true purpose of blasphemy laws: to silence minority sects and religious critics in the name of a “true faith.” Fortunately the effort of Hillary Clinton and others in the Administration to reach a compromise on blasphemy failed, though there continue to be efforts to create an international standard.

This case reflects the continued commitment of allies like Egypt to deny basic rights of free speech and freedom of religion to its citizens. It is a disgraceful sentence and another embarrassment for the United States in its massive financial support of the country while condemning other nations like Iran for their extremism.

Source: Yahoo

75 thoughts on “Egyptian Student Sentenced To Three Years For Announcing On Facebook That He Is An Atheist”

  1. Paul C. Schulte – you evaded my question. There were lots of lies and distortions printed about the Carib Islanders that I followed and typed and was eaten up by either my browser or wordpress but be that as it may, I will continue to play this out with you because as I said, I have no idea how serious you are. This is what I remember I studied after you said they were also an indian. I said, Oh, I had no Idea – well, lets see first indication of them was 600 ad on the mainland of South America and then they came to the Islands and conquered the Arawak and took their language. huh. Well when Columbus kept going and coming and screwing up and landing no longer where I originally had him on Hispaniola which was the Haitian small Islet, Dominica, Guadalupe and the Antilles 2nd voyage and they did not stay here because of the fierce Caribs. Paul why should these people be nice as they were obviously going to be pillaged.

    Paul, if you are referring to the alleged cannibalism of the Island Caribs because of the Mainland Caribs War Rituals everywhere you read it’s “alleged’ on the Cannibalism and Columbus was a failure. We even learned that in school. I just didn’t know the name of the Indians. I needed a refresher course. They called them that because of the romantic Shakespeare names of the time because they felt they were sooo brutish looking and soooo non white and all. very Aryan race card stuff. 3000 left. What else do you want me to do. Write a thesis. I will do it tomorrow. Promise. With footnotes 😉

  2. Paul C. Schulte

    happypappies – you need to read up on the tribes that Columbus converted to Christianity.
    Yes Paul What is there to read? Sources agree that the Spanish conquered and enslaved the Indians and then converted them to Christianity

    The Arawak had been working their way up the Caribs using ethnic cleansing as their method of tribal control.

    Source Paul C. Schulte that is in the land of the tinfoil hat as the Arawak has been ectinct since the 16th century due to disease from the whites mostly and slaughter.

    The Caribs were not any better. These were not “The Noble Savage” of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

    You might also want to look at the history of Haiti and its current status in the Caribbean community.

    Sickening. Help out your neighbor in the first all African State and then in the 1930s try to Anglicize things a bit to make it a bit whiter – now all of a sudden 200 to 300 thousand Haitians are stripped of their Citizenship. Hmmmmmmm I wonder why ??? duh

    1. happypappies – the Arawak and the Carib were active long before Columbus arrived. There is evidence of their conquest patterns. We don’t condemn the Aztec who conquered and enslaved populations so they could sacrifice them (and eat them), but we condemn Cortez. We conveniently forget that in his final conquest of the Aztec, he had roughly 5000 Indian allies (all enemies of the Aztec) to assist in his conquest.
      Disease is an interesting problem. We do not blame the Chinese for the arrival of the plagues that swept through Europe several times, but we do attack the Europeans for bringing smallpox, which also killed them. Did you know that Queen Elizabeth I almost died from smallpox. We also do not condemn the Indians for giving the Europeans syphilis, which was carried back to Europe by Columbus and his crew (at least his crew). Al Capone died of syphilis as did the Birdman of Alcatraz.

      1. Paul C. Schulte. I love it when you treat me like I am ignorant and uneducated. It is my favorite thing. Especially when I have confessed my education or lack of great formal one like most of you have here. The Arawak were peaceful when they were in the Caribbean. They had no culture to speak of and were peaceful. Why on earth would they all of a sudden be war like and become dove like in approximately 600 ad. That makes no sense to me in my subjective world as you would say. When you use deductive reasoning, it makes less sense.

        As far as the syphilis thing – give me a break. Shepherds before the time of Jesus Christ had syphilis. How scientific of you to blame it on the New World. Maybe those ignorant savages were screwing monkeys or something right? Wrong. They were clean. Europeans were filthy rat infested pigs. And you know it. Face it.

        p.s. That is like saying the world is flat and putting Copernicus on trial for saying it’s round and the planets revolve around it. 😛

        1. Happypappies – 2 things 1) you did not deal with the Caribs and 2) if you read the whole article, there is much debate but no consensus. I come down on the side of the Columbian Exchange.

          1. Paul C Schulte- How can you Compare “Caribs” that are from modern times to 600 years ago when they were in their natural state,

            1) The indigenous people were extinct and have been now for 600 years
            2) I am going to assume the contemptuous way you are behaving about the nasty dirty subhuman status of the syphilitic smallpox carrying Caribs are Negro. And the Natives were Arawak which are extinct as I just mentioned.

            Therefore, logically speaking, your argument hold no water. It is absurd to compare what people “Think” to the scientific method. It puts me in mind of the ship the US would not let come ashore of the Haitian refuges in the 1980s I believe because they had aids and it might be “catching” even though everyone knew it wasn’t. Yes, the rumor was an African got that from a Monkey. While these are interesting tin foil theories, for someone who was all over me about actual activities that happened in our history that are covered up and no one likes to speak about and called them tin foil and I dropped it. I did..; You know why? Because you made a remark some time ago about your subjective reality being different than mine and everyone was like that. Well. Whatever, Personally right now I am ready to strangle everyone that is not facing right into the issues at hand and seeing how ugly things really are.

            So I also let it go about Hitler a long time ago. I don’t agree with you but it doesn’t do any good to argue about it. But I haven’t forgotten.

            But I am not backing down on this. Idealogically speaking I think you are very much in error and can do better Paul C. Schulte.

            And I have been around lots of nasty people right here in the United States that are filthy and don’t know how to keep clean. Very sad. No training. Anyway Good Night 😉

                1. Happypappies,

                  I just now checked and sorry but I did not find any of your comments in the flagged folders.

                  1. Oh well. I posted it. I just got a new version of Pale Moon which is my browser so God knows what happened to it. We have been having this argument which is a Schulte special you know. 😛 lol And I had done some research but it doesn’t matter because it’s a wild goose chase and I found this cool cartoon which says it all regarding the subject matter. It was highly appropriate and cool to come across Thanks 🙂

              1. Paul C. Schulte – I posted to this earlier on way earlier on this afternoon. I like it when you play with me like this. It is soooo much fun :p And I want to know what you did playing with these 3000 Carib Indians that were left as I was ignorant of their existence until you led me on this wild goose chase

  3. Inga, in response to the Goldwater clip. What he forecasted is true to a point. I am not a Christian Fundamentalist, but admire what the tea party has done. I watched thousands show up trying to stop O’care. Individually or as a group but not an organized national effort. The tea party came about because those people were there. I would have been if I lived near DC.

    I know people in the tea party and religion is no part of it. Mr. Goldwater was referring to the Pat Robertsons of his time. This tea party wants their country back. They reject the views of Alinsky, they reject what some of their taxes are funding (EPA, Dept of Interior, HHS) and want their military kept strong. They want people to have a job, not food stamps and welfare. That requires a growing economy and ours isn’t. We owe more, more people on welfare is not a growing economy.

    Abortion is legal, that will never change. Talking about not getting pregnant and keeping a life you’re creating is alright. I know people who had abortions. One has a terrible mental illness feeling regret, one never had children and also regrets. Abortion is not just about today for the mother. it is for the rest of your life. But if you want one you can have one within parameters that I find reasonable.

  4. Happy, there is no way to lose money faster than giving it to these charities. I’m disappointed that W got involved in the thing wth Clinton. Money and Clinton seem to have awkward relationships. But the money should be accounted for and since Clinton isn’t doing it, then it falls on W to take responsibility. That’s why I didn’t send any money there.

    There are good charities working to help Haiti’s people. Greta van Susteren in a joint effort with Samitarin’s Purse is doing wonderful work. She shows video of what’s happening via their efforts. Video of Greta’s shows on Haiti might be available. If you have articles to send, Samaritan’s Purse does take things to Haiti via ships.

    I’m not sure one church could get any more info. Our wonderful media should be all over this, but there’s a Clinton involved. And, as much as we ache at the agonies, we need to get rid of their government, like Palestine, where we’ve given Billions and no one knows what happened to it. I think we should pursue getting our money back from Arafat’s widow, living a wonderful life in Paris with our money.

    We find instead of spreading our donation $$$ all over (Cancer, heart, etc.), we support two charities. Wounded Warriors and The Salvation Army. Both of those have excellent records of percentage actually to the people.

    You aren’t wrong about wanting to help. Call your newspaper. The people in charge of putting notices of happenings for good causes aren’t as busy as other sections. But they know the things going on in your area to help people. Much easier to join an existing effort, than start one on your own.

    As to your church, don’t call members, go to the lay people in charge of church finances. Usually a board or committee. Tell them what you think the church should be doing for Haiti. They are active in the church. Members go and give on Sunday.

    1. Sandy – you are right and that is wise advice. I was just venting 🙂 The Clinton’s and their crowing about not having any money is too much for me to hold my gorge. I am sorry. 🙂

  5. Young, vacuous, not yet adult, should say nothing about religion on any Internet site. They want to speak out because the system needs to change. It does need change. You being dead would be a bad change. Grown-ups usually avoid discussions of religion and politics in any social venue. They learned it usually ends up being devisive. Not good for friendships.

    My best friend is a uber-liberal Democrat who spends a lot of time doing for the church. I’m conservative and have no religious connection. We just don’t talk about religion or politics. It’s worth keeping an important relationship, friends for 50 years.

    1. Sandy – this I can agree with but what about Social Reform such as Haiti – they don’t seem to be receiving our funds and yet Bill Clinton was praised by Sean Penn at a Banquet on January 11th The Oscar-winning actor continues to spend more time on Haitian relief efforts than he does making movies, fronting the J/P Haitian Relief Organization.

      Nearly five years after a 7.0 magnitude quake killed hundreds of thousands of its citizens, Haiti’s recovery efforts remain muddled and confused, with the whereabouts of the billions of dollars pledged by the international community an apparent mystery to the country’s leaders.

      “We don’t know where the money has gone,” Raymond Joseph, former ambassador of Haiti to the U.S., said Friday in an interview on Bloomberg’s “Market Makers

      Unlike you Sandy – I just spoke to a right wing friend of mine regarding this who is a member of Session in our Church and her comment was “I have no interest in it” We have packed up relief for these people as most everyone has around here. I had just told her I didn’t even know how I was going to to out in public the way people were so blase about how events took place in the US and worldwide. You know how I can be. I usually blow it off — Not this time. I am tired of people closing their eyes and “Not having interest” because “They don’t want to think about it” Too bad. People need to wake up. Columbus Pillaged Hispaniola and then had the Natives convert to Christianity.

      What I mean is to me, nothing is worth preserving if I have to repress myself when I feel so strongly about something and a “Friend” who is a “Christian” on Session which means she is a Church Elder ” Has no Interest in it. That is blatant hypocrisy and in Church if you have something that offends you you are supposed to cut it off – metaphorically speaking that is. And if she can’t get over it – I can’t help it….. 🙁 I don’t feel that is immature do you?

      1. happypappies – you need to read up on the tribes that Columbus converted to Christianity. The Arawak had been working their way up the Caribs using ethnic cleansing as their method of tribal control. The Caribs were not any better. These were not “The Noble Savage” of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

        You might also want to look at the history of Haiti and its current status in the Caribbean community.

  6. Inga, I believe the women at Bundy Ranch wanted to be in front. The Feds would have no problem killing the men, but not the women. These events make all of us aware of what the Feds are doing, especially the EPA. Americans learning what’s going on is a good thing.

    My info required before you post has disappeared. So I have to fill it in every time. You seem to have good connections in this site, would you mention it to the site people? Perhaps they will answer a question from a long-time user.

  7. Lonely and angry is no way to go through life. I was taught to pray for people. And, the most powerful prayers being for people you don’t like. I just said a prayer.

  8. I’ve found the people who crow the loudest about how much guts they have usually have the least.

  9. Christians have killed in the name of Christ in the past to be fair. Issac – what is your problem. To be fair to the atheists in Egypt, I knew one like I have mentioned in the past. He was a great person. Big hearted. My Dad was an atheist Pogo and I have had Christian Policemen rape me so really it doesn’t matter what stripe you wear. It is all relative. Just like Jill said. People lie. They just do. The Muslims in Egypt made a human shield for the Coptic Christians. Or have we forgotten. I have not. All of you are better than this sniping at each other.

  10. You’d have to lift yourself up out of that dark place to be on par with me. I have more guts than the majority of little righty terrorists and I won’t stop my comments regarding fundamentalists.

    1. Inga – another ad hominem attack. You are as fundamentalist as they come. So really, you are one type of fundamentalist complaining about other types of fundamentalists.

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