The Tar Pit

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Detained Egyptian blogger missing, Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman

The autocrats of the Muslim Middle East have looked at the new media of the blogosphere and are applying the same old oppression, not just in Moammar Qaddafi's Libya, but also in Hosni Mubarak's Egypt (embassies around the world).

From Miss Mabrouk of Egypt:

Anti-Islamic Blogger Detained, Missing

The whereabouts of blogger Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman who was abducted from his home by Egyptian state security on Wednesday Oct. 26 is still not known. The police refused to answer questions by AP, the first wire to run the story. The last report about his whereabouts said he was on his way to an unknown detention center.

It was 3 a.m. when seven police officers took the 21 year old blogger away from his family home in Alexandria. His mother, Yousseira, says the house was searched; books and copies of Seliman's writings were confiscated.

His friends and family says Seliman was targeting radical Islam in his writings, despite his strong connections to the Muslim community. Seliman is a student of law at Al-Azhar, the world's highest seat of learning for Sunni Muslims. His pious Muslim family had returned from a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca just days before his arrests

Hat tip: Instapundit who also points to Global Voices Online:

Justice for AbdolkarimThe events of the 21st of October did not end in complete peace. A new alarming, yet not directly related, development took place. This time shaking the Egyptian bloggosphere more strongly than ever, as it affected one of its own. For the first time an Egyptian blogger has been detained by security forces.

By Egyptian law, freedom of speech is not a right when it comes to blasphemy of religions. And this is what Abdolkarim did a day after the events of Alexandria. He wrote a very harsh post that attacked Islam, he also published his writing at Civic Dialogue. On his blog, the post attracted many disapproving and angry comments.

The Azhar student has usually been very outspoken against Islam and this was not his first post with such opinions.

Yesterday, Malek, Mohammed and Haitham went to meet his family. Abdolkarim, has his photo, email, phone number and address publicly displayed on his blog. They mention that his family appears to be nonchalant about what happened and are expecting him to be out in few days. Yet they are not exactly sure where he might be at the moment and are reluctant to take any action. His brother thinks that he might have been tipped off by one of the local fundamentalists because of a post he wrote about one of their leaders and not because of the last post he made.

Abdolkarim, lives in the same neighborhood the violent riots of the 21st of October took place. He has troubled relations with some local Islamic fundamentals in his neighbourhood. One of those fundamentals might have a hand in the riots. They printed out what he writes and distributed it to enrage people against him.

Around the Middle East centered blogosphere...

Sabbah's Blog:

Abdolkarim emailed another blogger ( telling him how he doesn't fear getting his name published in a survey, as he beleives that the sensitive posts about religion he writes about should not be behind red lines. He also said that he fears the consequences and that he was once attacked by some thugs hired who attemted to beat him.

Iraq Blog Count:

Oh I see. An election. And an arrested blogger. Well well. Shadi Hamid discusses US silence:

The response (or lack thereof) to the upcoming elections (Egypt) - and the voter intimidation and detention of opposition activists which will surely take place - will tell us a great deal about the current thinking in the Bush administration. I can't say, however, that I'm particularly optimistic. more

Mia: Shaken Not Stirred points to Rantings of a Sandmonkey:

Abdel Karim's writing, if you can't read arabic, is very very critical of Islam. So critical that Big Pharaoh is wondering if he was a convert to christianity or something.

Abdolkarim could be a convert to Christianity or someone who left the Muslim faith, and I was stunned when I saw that he posted his picture on his blog. Anyway, he will be in a very serious situation if a case was levied against him. If sent to court, the charge of "izderaa el adyaan" or "blaspheming religion" can be applied leading to his imprisonment.

What's interesting is that he went to Al Azhar University and lived in Alexandria, which could mean that the people who did file a report against him are islamists. If that were the case , given the upcoming elections, the recent riots and his connections to Copts-United, it's very well possible that they arrested him as a pre-emptive measure to stop another riot that could be started by the MB in Alex. The egyptian government would never take the side of Free speech against secterian relationships stability. Figuring it's safer to arrest just one blogger who the majority of egyptians would disagree with and with his writing, then to deal with another riot over his right to free speech, which doesn't exist in our country. It kind of makes sense for them to do it, for they have no shame or fixed morals or principles to stand by and defend, and the fact that, again, many egyptians wouldn't mind him getting punished for what he wrote. If you find this statetment to be harsh then please go over to the comments section in Alaa's post and see for yourself what some people had to say about his arrest. Hell, Alaa is being attacked in his comments section for starting the free Abdal Karim campaign.

This attitude that some people have drives me nuts, because this is about free speech and civil rights, not about who said what about Islam. We should support him, not because we agree with what he said, but because if we don't rally out and support those who get detained and arrested for writing what they believe in- no matter how unpopular their opinion may be- we will be the ones arrested next.