Egypt to ban atheism, believing it endangers mental health

Egypt to ban atheism, believing it endangers mental health December 23, 2017

In 2014, little more than a week after Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi was sworn in as Egypt’s President, the government announced that it was preparing a national plan to prevent the spread atheism, particularly among the Muslim country’s youth.
A few months later Al-Shabab, a government-linked newspaper, stated that atheists were “the country’s second enemy after the Muslim Brotherhood” and quoted a psychologist saying that:

Atheism leads to mental imbalances and paranoia.

Now, according to this report, the Egyptian government has disclosed plans to pass into law a bill that would makes atheism a criminal offence.
When Egypt’s crackdown on atheism was first announced, Nuamat Sati, of the Ministry of Youth, told Al-Monitor that the spread of atheism, especially among youth, is what prompted the Ministry of Awqaf (religious endowment), in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and Youth in Egypt, to launch an anti-atheism campaign.
When asked about the availability of statistics showing the increasing spread of this phenomenon, Sati said:

There are no statistics, which means that the size of the phenomenon was never known nor is it known today, so there is no absolute evidence of its spread.

Pastor Abdul Massih Bassit, who was also dismayed about the spread of atheism, said:

There are no statistics and each part of society randomly estimates the size of the phenomenon. Atheists estimate their own number on their Facebook pages at between 2 million and 4 million Egyptians, while certain pastors say that their number is not more than 1,000-2,000.

Sati added:

Both the Ministries of Awqaf and Youth have based their estimations on a TV show in which atheists have a significant representation, in addition to Facebook and Twitter accounts where the number of followers have largely increased, which means that they are now publicly announcing their atheism.
The campaign has two goals. The first is to spread awareness concerning the dangers of atheism and how it creates a threat to society, as well as the controversial issues that might push the youth to atheism. The second is to treat this phenomenon by having a dialogue with atheists and giving them a chance to reconsider their decisions and go back to their religion.

Last month we reported that TV host Rania Mahmoud Yassin, above, claimed that Egypt “unfortunately” had 866 atheists.

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  • Darn It

    Well Egypt had better pass a law to prohibit thinking as well. I don’t think many imams will fall foul of it, they being incapable of holding a rational notion between their ears.
    Egypt should go right ahead with this law. I can think of nothing better to encourage an underground subversive movement to undermine the theists. And when the theists do fall, as they will, lets hope that thinking masses treat them with the contempt they deserve.
    The theists are running scared now. Really scared.

  • 1859

    I can’t think of a more brilliant idea to promote the spread of atheism! Totally awesome how progressive Egypt is.

  • Angela_K

    Oh dear the religious idiots are running scared because some people have shaken off the mind shackles of religion and it is spreading. Religious belief is mental illness that can be cured – if allowed.

  • Robster

    Meanwhile, in Australia, the federal treasurer has decided there’s too much religious mockery in the country and that it needs “to be called out”, which I’m guessing is religious speak for “it needs to be stopped”. Scott Morrison is a happy clappy Hillsong type god botherer, apparently. He says he not going “to put up with religious mockery any more”, which is a concern. Curbing “religious mockery” is fraught with danger as it would usually involve blasphemy laws and a level of undesired control in a society with a strong separation of church and state. Surely reducing the number of absurd religious mockables would be a good place to start, there’s that much, the treasurer would perhaps be kept too busy to further his evil intent?

  • Jim Baerg

    “Atheism leads to mental imbalances and paranoia”
    But if they really are persecuted it isn’t paranoia.

  • tonye

    The only thing atheism ‘leads to’ is the realisation that the religious leaders have been conning the masses for decades, that’s why the leaders want to ban it.

  • L.Long

    Professional LIARS4(insert BS) are lying some more!
    These people HATE the idea that other people can be happy loving people without their BS controls, but even worse that we don’t give them lots of money!!

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    How do you ban a non belief?

  • barriejohn

    Graham M-R: Good point. All the cars in this car park should be given a ticket, as none of them have paid!

  • barriejohn

    Talking about “religious” countries, you’d have to go a long way to beat the Philippines, yet in the run-up to Christmas they’ve been hit by a devastating tropical storm which has killed about 200 people, and a fire in a shopping mall that has killed dozens. Do they never stop to ask where the much vaunted “divine protection” is on such occasions?

  • Darwin T. Humanist

    How do you punish a non-belief? Well, we will have to wait for the details but the government of Egypt could prevent student loans, scholarships and bursaries for starters. Then business startup loans could be part of the punishment too. These target people under 35 for the most part. Loyalty oaths could be part of the mix in order to receive diplomas and certificates with revocation if later on you reveal yourself to be an atheist. Public Housing assignments could also be used as a weapon. Then there is the general chill and fear aspect that will make the barrier too high for some to be able to declare or even toy with the idea of atheism. We must see if this law will bear out these harsh possibilities or whether it is window dressing. We can encourage restraint by communicating via our embassies and through one on one contact with Egyptians. How many of us travelling to Egypt tell our hosts we are atheists? We must be polite guests and show how atheists are not a threat. Tell your hotel receptionist. Tell your family friend. Tell your colleague. Tell your conference host. Tell your waiter. Tell your museum guide. Tell your taxi driver. Normalize atheism.

  • gedediah

    Atheism leads to paranoia? Sound like paranoia to me. Damn, they broke my irony meter.

  • Broga

    “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Victor Hugo.

  • Italian Scallion

    “ALL” religions lead to mental illness. As I always say, “Abolish all religions and the world would be a much better place.”

  • Cali Ron

    Italian Scallion: ““ALL” religions IS mental illness.” I fixed it for you.
    Happy Holidays to all Freethinkers!

  • Maggie

    As if believing in a flying horse, magical underwear, (non-IVF) virgin birth, zombies, a talking donkey, aliens trapped in volcanoes by H-bombs, two of each species can fit on a boat, (etc., etc., etc.) is a sign of a healthy mind.

  • barriejohn

    Maggie: And an all-loving, all-powerful Creator who has decreed that any of his creatures who fail to prostrate themselves before him and give him adequate praise will be punished for ever and ever and ever!

  • Broga

    The same creatures, beloved of the Tyrant God, are wrecking his planet and there is now unlikely to be a turning back.

  • barriejohn
  • Broga

    barriejohn: The analogy in the link is terrifying except to the believers who think their fictional God will save them.
    “I give you a test tube full of food for bacteria- that’s an analogy with the planet- and I put one bacterial cell in and it is us. It’s going to go into exponential growth and divide every minute. So, at time zero, at the beginning, there is one bacterium. One minute, there are two. Two minutes, four. Three minutes, eight. Four minutes, 16. That’s exponential growth. And at 60 minutes, the test tube is completely packed with bacteria, and there’s no food left.”

  • barriejohn

    Broga: The dozy BBC are crowing today about 2017 being Britain’s “greenest ever year”, and it’s all futile. No one ever mentions population growth – the elephant in the room – as it upsets too many religiots. Stephen Hawking is right, and the earth is doomed:

  • barriejohn

    Donald Trump has now tweeted the most crass and stupid comment of his entire presidency:
    In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!
    What has America done?