Egyptian court sentences man to 3 years in prison following declaration of atheism

Jan 12, 2015

By Emir Nader

An Egyptian court handed out a three year prison sentence to a man accused of contempt of Islam and insulting the divine, on Saturday.

Karim Ashraf Mohammed Al-Banna was tried by a court in the industrial town of Idku, in the Delta governorate of Beheira.

The Idku District Misdemeanor Court allowed Al-Banna a bail of EGP 1,000 to suspend the prison time.

He is accused of using his Facebook account to publish articles that “belittle the divine”, according to the rights group Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).

Ishaq Ibrahim, a researcher on freedom of religion and belief at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), told Daily News Egypt that Al-Banna declared his atheism on Facebook and subsequently was harassed in public. Upon seeking to file a report of the assault at a police department in Idku, Al-Banna was arrested.


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16 comments on “Egyptian court sentences man to 3 years in prison following declaration of atheism

  • Incidents like this strongly rebut the ” West is all at fault for the troubles in muslim countries ” argument.

    Thousands of these type of things going on all the time must make living in places like this extremely taxing on one’s mental health.



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  • 2
    Miserablegit says:

    So the problem for Egypt is not a man being assaulted but his willingness to ignore religion which is deemed to be an imprisonable offence. Islam is truly an intolerant belief.



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  • Islam is truly an intolerant belief.

    It’s not an exclusively islamic trait. Take the civilized, democracy exporting America. There are sitll laws that prohibit non christians to run for election in some states -an article about this topic appeared on this very, not too long ago. And I sort of suspect that, if you happen to go on trial over there, being identified as an atheist will not help your defence.

    Intolerance and ruthlessness are connaturate to religion, each one of them. In some part of the world those ideologies’ grasp is just less tight than in others. That’s the main difference.

    If you value personal and collective freedom, the first thing you need to get rid of is institutionalized religion.



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  • I commit this “crime” many times a day. What kind of wuss do Muslims think Allah is that he needs all this protecting? I think they just hope they will curry favour by such actions.



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  • Who says we caused all of their troubles? Why paint with such a wide brush? Let’s give all issues the most comprehensive analysis that we can. Some problems most certainly were caused by us. Others were not. Some are a nasty multivalent combination of culture, religion and geopolitical forces. Here’s another one we didn’t cause-sexism. Egypt is a cesspool of misogyny. As much as I feel pain for the people who suffer for these problems, certain reforms must come from within. We didn’t break them and we can’t fix them either.



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  • Two of the three monotheistic religions have undergone reformations, mainly because of the hammer blows of scientific discovery and knowledge.

    Islam has failed entirely in that regard, and now languishes in a miasma of antediluvian fantasies and half baked superstitious notions of its own making.

    No wonder it produces ignorant fundamentalist maniacs whose only resort is to commit atrocities in a vain attempt to apportion blame to everyone else for the problems they themselves have generated.



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  • Yes indeed it does. Voltaire must have seen that those chains are revered by both the illiterate and the erudite and everyone in between. I’m aware of the stats on level of education and religiosity and I’m all for ramping up science education and instruction on ethics in schools, but isn’t it particularly disappointing when some of the most highly educated amongst us proudly display those mind chains? And these are the very people who have the potential to do the most damage by broadcasting their mind chain memes far and wide.

    Personally, I could more easily forgive the ignorant person for their own sad error than I could forgive someone with the benefit of a higher education who has access to the greatest thinkers of our time.

    Where are the Enlightenment thinkers of the Muslim world? Egypt prides itself on being the cultural leader of that society. The “dunya” of the Middle East, in it’s own words. Egypt, where is your Voltaire? Where is your Diderot, Paine, Darwin, Hume, Spinoza, Holbach, and too many others to fit here in this space. We all acknowledge your golden age and it’s contributions but the trajectory of your society is headed steeply downhill. Marginalize your fools with their mind chains that they revere and let Karim Ashraf Mohammed Al-Banna and others like him have space to breath, think and live freely. These people are your greatest and only hope to drag you kicking and screaming out of the muck that you most definitely are in up to your pious necks!

    Aabe intouma, Aabe bizeff.



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  • I think we are trying to make a difference. Western governments have interceded on behalf of “blasphemers” and I think that sometimes this has been successful. TV and internet is beaming straight into the homes of everyone with a connection, bringing liberal secular ideas. On another thread some time ago, I supported the idea of TGD arabic translation being sent over the borders by the truckload. These are all valuable ways of trying but we will always be held at arms length because of their fear of imperialism (rightly so), and this is reinforced on every page of the Koran with Allah warning every Muslim to beware of the infidel who’s goal in life is to destroy Islam and send the believer straight to hell.

    What I hope for is a homegrown, grassroots movement that comes from their own secular leaders and thinkers. That way, over time, the ideas will stick because they came from the inside, not from imperialistic others. If this happens, it will be a source of pride that they can crow about for all time.

    With the latest Paris tragedy, and all of the blasphemy arrests and floggings that have become known to the Muslim community, I am very interested in how they will handle this issue. If they can wrangle around enough to overlook their own self imposed abhorrence of blasphemy, then I hope we will see a path open up, narrow and treacherous though it might be, for the intrepid Muslim atheists to set forth upon with a deliberate stride. As they continue down their path they will collect more fellow travelers and the path will become a boulevard.

    If Karim Ashraf Mohammed Al-Banna and friends are reading this I hope they feel our support as they trample down the weeds that grow in their path.



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  • 12
    Baglady says:

    If I read it correctly, the sentence was suspended on payment of a fine amounting to about $140 or £90. That sounds to me like they were trying to let him off as lightly as they could and still satisfy the more radical elements. In that, I glimmer a sliver of hope.



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  • 13
    TwoReplies says:

    Declare that you don’t believe in an imaginary friend?
    …That’ll be $140.

    I suppose that’s a step up from being burned at the steak.
    Still pretty rediculous, though.



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  • I find this rather hypocritical of the Egyptian authorities, when all around them, they have the “left overs” of other deities and their followers- Osiris, Ra, and the various sundry gods of the Pharaohs. Are they suggesting their ancestors were all “haram” or should be put to death for following someone other than the one true god they now believe in?

    Of course that would mean most modern Egyptians would never have been born.. jcw



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  • Jesus, woman! Where have you BEEn (see what I did there). The dumb, simpering, white-guilt left (Aslaan, Afleck, Werleman, Greenwald, etc.) will take immense efforts to condemn truly moral moral people who condemn islam for its current barbarity. They spend more time defending islam against “bigots” (like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Bill Maher) than they spend trying to defend the people who are victims of said religion: the muslims and ex-muslims.



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