I have a piece up at CiF on the plight of Kareem, the blogger who has begun a 4 year sentence of imprisonment in Egypt.
As a footnote to all this, I asked the Muslim Council of Britain’s Inayat Bungalawa:
I find myself a reluctant ally with Inayat on this issue.
It is imperative to support basic democratic rights and freedoms for all in Egypt, including Abdel Kareem Soliman, and the Muslim Brotherhood. It is both impossible and improper to fight clerical fascists like the Muslim Brotherhood by repression, torture, and the flaunting of basic constitutional rights.
I have a piece on CiF up tomorrow morning on Abdel Kareem Soliman’s case.
Having read this piece, can I ask you formally to endorse the campaign for his release from prison in Egypt. You have seen my reasons for opposing the persecution of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. You are, for better or worse, an public figure, and your endorsement will carry some weight, I think.
Can you also endeavour to secure the committment of the Muslim Council of Britain to the release of this young Egyptian Muslim man from imprisonment?
It would do the great things for your standing as a blogger, as a spokesman for the MCB, and for the MCB itself, were you to do so. It may also assist in securing, from all parts of the political spectrum, the level of support necessary to secure Abdel Kareem Soliman’s release from prison.
Anyway, from what I have seen, this Kareem fellow made some highly provocative remarks about the Prophet Muhammad and his companions. That said, I think people ought to be able to generally say what they like, even if it is very offensive as long as it does not incite racial or religious hatred. So, I am content personally to support a call for Kareem to be freed from jail on that basis, without in any way endorsing his risible and ignorant views about Islam. Whether Kareem will now be able to continue to live in safety in Egypt is another matter though. He may have to emigrate, given that his comments are unlikely to be looked very kindly upon by many among his fellow Egyptians (including his own parents, from what I have read).
Also, it is not just Kareem, but Mubarak has jailed hundreds of political activists, many of them from the largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood and has decreed that they should face a military tribunal where they will have no right of appeal.
The former presidential candidate, Ayman Nour, also currently languishes in prison for having the temerity to challenge Mubarak to an election. He and the other political activists too should be freed. Are you calling for their freedom too, DavidT?
My position on the Muslim Brotherhood is set out above. Harry’s Place has covered the predicament of Ayman Nour extensively.
It can therefore be said that Kareem has support form across the political spectrum in this country.