CAIRO — After June 30, 2013, many people thought that the end of Muslim Brotherhood rule would bring about military-enforced secularism, or more religious and personal freedom. Instead, they are slowly finding out that the new state is very similar to the old state and employing the same — if not worse — tactics against said freedoms. The Islamists may no longer be in power, but religious despotism seems to be alive and well in the land of the Nile.
People gather at the Virgin Church for the funeral of four victims killed in an attack at a wedding on Sunday, in Cairo, Oct. 21, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/ Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
Exhibit A: Shiite college student Amr Abdallah was just sentenced to five years in jail for “contempt for religion.” Amr was arrested Nov. 14, 2013, when he entered Al-Hussein Mosque during an Ashoura celebration, an act the authorities deemed worthy of arrest and interrogation. The court, in its opinion, stated that its function is to dispense justice based on the rules that God has laid out. The court also stated that the views presented by Amr after his questioning were an abominable attack on religion that cannot be defended by the constitutionally protected freedoms of belief or expression, given that the basis of all legislation is Sharia principles, which Amr’s views are completely against. Continue reading