An Egyptian ‘Blasphemer’ Speaks Out Against a Victimless Crime

A month ago, I posted about Alber Saber, an Egyptian atheist who was arrested after posting the “Innocence of Muslims” movie on the Egyptian Atheists Facebook page.

Saber is still in jail.

His friend Maikel Nabil Sanad was accused of the same crime — blasphemy — but managed to write a blistering article in Foreign Policy against the blasphemy laws in Egypt. It’s called “Yes, I’m a blasphemer. Get over it.” In it, he tells the stories of person after person who got arrested, jailed, and tortured for doing nothing more than criticizing religion:

Maikel Nabil Sanad

Alber is not the only opinion prisoner in Egypt accused of criticizing Islam. There are at least six Christians (three of them under the age of 18), four atheists, and one Shiite who now face the same charges, and it is no surprise that not one of them is a Sunni Muslim. It’s a new Inquisition happening in Egypt in the twenty-first century while the whole world remains silent.

Religions are just collections of beliefs which can’t be proved. I still can’t imagine that in the twenty-first century there are people going to prison because they don’t believe that someone walked on water, a virgin gave birth to a child, or a man flew to heaven on a donkey. Tolerating this new Inquisition moves our world back to the Middle Ages, and this could have devastating consequences for our lives.

Now that’s bravery.

Online petitions aren’t going to fix this problem. The government of Egypt needs to put a stop to this — not only is blasphemy a victimless crime, it’s far too easy for these things to become witch hunts. Governments of other countries need to issue sanctions on Egypt until they stop prosecuting “offenders” of Islam.

When you know your faith is untrue, the best way to perpetuate the lie is by punishing anyone who dares to tell the truth. As people who live in a country where we won’t be arrested for criticizing religion, it’s really our civic duty to blaspheme in their honor.

(Thanks to Hannah for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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