Egyptian Atheist Convicted of Blasphemy

To no one’s surprise, the fascist government in Egypt has convicted Albert Saber of blasphemy for denying the existence of God and allegedly linking to a blasphemous video on Facebook. He’s been sentenced to three years in prison and is planning to appeal.

A Cairo court sentenced an atheist from a Christian family on Wednesday to three years in prison for insulting religion, firing up fears about the future of freedom of expression here just as Egyptians prepare to vote on an Islamist-backed draft constitution denounced by secular groups as failing to protect such rights.

The convicted man, Albert Saber, is expected to be released on bail of about $167 pending an appeal. An open and avowed atheist, Mr. Saber, 27, was initially accused of circulating links to an offensive online video lampooning the Prophet Muhammad that set off protests across the Muslim world in September. Mr. Saber has denied promoting the video, and he is being charged for other statements critical of Islam and Christianity that police investigators found on his computer. Open profession of atheism is almost unheard-of in Egypt and is widely considered an affront to society as a whole…

“Expect to see many more blasphemy prosecutions in the future now that it’s embedded as a crime in the constitution,” said Heba Morayef, a researcher with Human Rights Watch who is tracking the case.

Appalling and barbaric.

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  • slc1

    I have long predicted that many in Egypt will be longing for the good old days of Mubarak.

  • Michael Heath

    Reports this morning out of Egypt was that those running some of the polling places successfully suppressed the vote in precincts with liberals and Christians. Both groups oppose the current effort to create an Islamist state. Oh the irony, sad as it is.

  • Michael Heath@2:

    Proving once again my theory that the only difference between Christian and Islamic theocrats is the branding. If they could set that point aside, they could compare notes on suppression techniques and then neatly divide up the world between them.

  • laurentweppe


    People who suffered under the Castro brothers or the Iranian Mullahs or the Mugabe’s senile dementia are not known for demanding the return of Batista, the return of the Shah or the return of the british colonists.

    The only people who will ever long for Mubarak’s “good old days” are whitey supremacists like you you love to pretend that the Third World can be dealt with only through genocide or bribed tyrants. Do not project your own vices onto everyone else.

  • Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    It is indeed appalling and barbaric, but that doesn’t excuse your nonsense;

    1) It was not the government that convicted him, but a court.

    2) Highly unpleasant and authoritarian as Morsi’s regime is, describing it as “fascist” is ignorant and lazy: “fascist” has a specific meaning – it doesn’t just mean “nasty” or even “totalitarian”. Stalin was both, but was no fascist.

  • Crudely Wrott

    It’s becoming more and more evident that the greater the desire for power displayed by an individual or a political party, the more sensitive they are to the least criticism. This principle is in even greater evidence when the individual or party claims supernatural imperatives or guidance or scriptural justification for their desires.

    Funny how that works, innit?

    Therein lurks a large clue.

  • Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    Further to my #5. Learn something about fascism here. Specifically, it is a response to disillusion with the experience of living in a liberal democratic state suffering from polarization and resulting sociopolitical deadlock, is explicitly anti-democratic, requires a charismatic leader, and stresses the national community and militarist expansionism. While theocratic regimes such as that in Iran, and potentially in Egypt and other Arab states, share some characteristics with fascism, lazily labeling them as fascist simply impedes understanding. The states at most imminent risk of fascist takeover are Greece, Hungary and Italy, probably in that order, with the USA perhaps not that far behind.

  • laurentweppe

    Mr. Weppe, I do not understand your comment

    No matter how much you, the people on “your side”, or the people on the “other side” try to make this religion-themed “We will bury you” triumphalism look reasonable, this kind of argumentum ad populum is little more than fratboy chest beating and it annoys me.


    No one in Norway or in Europe has claimed that god had punished the Norwegians for their godless ways.

    That’s because the only people who dare make such claims are from the far-right and therefore decided to be very discreet in the aftermatch of a political massacre commited by a far-right activist.

  • laurentweppe

    Ind up happening. I ùmessed up a copy paste destined to acommenting on Dan Fincke’s blog. So this last comment of mine is here a complete non sequitur, which I can’t even erase.

  • slc1

    Re laurentweppe @ #4

    For the information of Mr. weppe, Mubarak and the Shah were secularists. Ask the women of Iran whether they are better off now then they were in 1978. A couple of years from now, ask the women of Egypt whether they are better off then they were in 2010.

    To folks like Mr. weppe, Noam Chomsky, and Glenn Greenwald, anyone supported by the US is a bad actor, ipso facto, and anyone not supported by the US is a good guy.

    Compared to Assad pere and Assad fils in Syria, the Shah and Mubarak were angels.

  • laurentweppe

    Mubarak and the Shah were secularists

    A “secularist” tyrant is still a tyrant. He does not “protect” his subjects from the excesses of religious fundamentalist, he just replace fundie bullies with bullies on his own payroll.

    “Ask the women of Iran whether they are better off now then they were in 1978”

    And how many -appart from member of the upper class who actually lost something when the dictatorship which privileged their families was replaced by a dictatorship which privileged someone else- would love to come back to the “benevolant” rule of the Pahlavis?


    What you’re advocating, in fine, is the rule of tyrannies where people like you -that is: educated “western” and “westernized” authoritarians with a clear contempt for the plebs- would be the privileged ruling class. It’s not the fact that Morsi wants to become the next president for life of Egypt or that the current Iranian regime is a corrupt theocracy which bothers you: it’s the fact that people you identify with are not the alpha bullies reaping the fruits of these regimes