The plight of atheists in Egypt 1

This is from the Egyptian website Albawaba:

“An Islamist Egypt is a fascist Egypt. It is an Egypt that will use the faith people have in Islam as a religion to gain political power and to exclude and alienate all who are different,” says a former pious Muslim who now describes himself as “Godless and free.”

While some Islamists widely attack liberals and Christians, describing them as “infidels” (some even going as far as justifying their killing), nonbelievers are not even acknowledged, let alone guaranteed rights in an Islamist Egypt.

“The Egyptian people are religious by nature, and there are no atheists,” said Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most prominent Islamic scholars, if not the most, a few days ago.

The second article of the new constitution reads: “Islam is the religion of the state, Arabic is the official language and the principles of Islamic Sharia (law) is the main source of legislation.” …

“The Brotherhood themselves do not tolerate atheism. If there was another ruling party with the same constitution, they would not be as strict on atheists as the MB,” an aspiring Egyptian journalist who refers to herself as an “atheist” argues. “Nobody in Egypt made a decision to be an atheist without truly understanding and accepting the consequences.What I am actually worried about are the people who will be mistaken for atheists when all they did was crack a joke or disagree with a popular Muslim figure on a subject.” …

“I am afraid Egypt will slip into a period of ‘medieval Europe’ where the church was the main driving force behind the ignorance, intolerance and abuse to human integrity. History teaches us that there is no progress under religious, dogmatic ideology,” [an Egyptian-Canadian says] .

According to Article 60 of the new constitution, all citizens are required to take religion classes before they apply for university. This is not a new feature in Egyptian schools; religion classes (Islamic and Christian) were always mandatory in all national schools.

It remains to be seen how far the Muslim Brotherhood government will tolerate atheism in newly “democratic” Egypt. Our guess is – not far.

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  • liz

    It will probably be tolerated about as far as it was under Calvin in Geneva.