Egyptian Human Rights Organizations Decry Blasphemy Verdict

Al-Masry Al-Youm is reporting that nine Egyptian human rights organizations, including the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, the Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies, and El Nadim Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, released a joint statement Thursday decrying yesterday’s (12/12/12) sentencing of a Coptic Christian blogger Alber Saber to three years imprisonment for blasphemy for allegedly posting “The Innocence of Muslims” trailer at his Facebook page

Saber was also accused by prosecutors of promoting atheism, insulting the divine prophets, as well as Islamic and Christian religious rites, and characterizing God as weak.

Voicing their “deep shock” at the ruling, the human rights organizations further held all Egyptian state bodies responsible for any harm caused to Saber and his family due to incitement against them.  Their joint statement demanded the rescinding of all criminalization of religious criticism of religion, whether in legislation or the draft constitution, stating that “freedom of expression is a basic human right stated in all constitutions, charters and international conventions.” The statement added that no person should be imprisoned solely for expressing an opinion which contradicts a society’s mainstream beliefs. The nine signatories concluded that Saber’s conviction “is a message to all opponents of the new religious dictatorship taking shape in Egypt” demonstrating such opinions views will become punishable crimes.

Unfortunately, their statement, of course, fails to acknowledge that the “religious dictatorship taking shape in Egypt” is merely an expression of Islam’s totalitarian Sharia, strict application of which is supported by some 74% of Egyptian Muslims.

Regardless, will the “liberal” Egyptian political leaders of the newly minted “National Salvation Front” follow suit with the shared moral courage to reiterate the righteous views expressed by these nine Egyptian human rights organizations?


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