ANTI-CHRISTIAN AND ANTI-SEMITIC BOOKS ON DISPLAY AT CAIRO INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR: LAWSUIT PENDING
CAIRO, EGYPT (ANS) -- A number of anti-Semitic and anti-Christian publications were on display at the recent Cairo International Book Fair. Sample images of these books are still displayed at www.baladynet.net, an Islamic news site apparently hosted by an American Internet Service provider.
According to the Free Copts blog these publications are also sold throughout Egypt.
Publications on display included “It is not holy,” (referring to the Holy Bible) and “Why they broke the Cross,” (attacking Christian beliefs).
Other titles were the role of the crusade church in the fall of Islamic Caliphate, an encouragement to convert to Islam to enjoy security, a publication titled “Christians of Egypt; how many and who are they?” This was described by the blog writer as a “hateful publication inciting Muslims against the Copts, Egypt’s indigenous people.”
Another publication was called, “Who killed the dog?” This, the blog writer commented, referred to “the murder of Egyptian intellectual Farag Foda (www.meforum.org/article/395), a free-thinking Muslim intellectual who was killed because of his anti- fanatic attitude. This book is considered a direct incitement to kill other Egyptian intellectuals who take the same position.”
Another book was called “Islamic Enlightment,” described by the blog writer as “a hate- filled periodical that incites hatred against Jews, Christians and non-Muslims in general. Another publication was named “O ye filthy gypsies,” described by the blogger as “A message to the Diaspora Christians.”
The blog writer commented, “Mosque imams and extremists alike are allowed to publicly insult Jews, Christians, the Bible, the Cross, and Christianity. They have done this, not just through cartoons in the press, but also through the wide use of media such as TV channels, radio stations, and newspapers all over the Arab and Muslim world.”
However, there is, according to the blog writer who spoke by e-mail on condition of anonymity, a lawsuit pending in Egypt about the material.
He said that Naguib Gibrael, a Coptic attorney who visited the Cairo International Book Fair on Jan. 30 2006, saw these books on display.
In an e-mail the blogger said, “Article 98/1 of the Egyptian penal code forbids slander against ‘heavenly religions.’ Usually this law is used against Copts to stop them from criticizing Islam. In reality I have not seen a single Muslim who was prosecuted for defaming Christianity and Judaism. But in this case, the Coptic lawyer has taken the case before the Egyptian attorney General informing him of the books that are considered in violation of the Egyptian law.”
WHO IS BEHIND THE MATERIAL?
The book publisher is apparently, according to the blog writer, “Mr. Ahmed,” who the blog entry commented, “prefers the name Abu Islam Ahmed (and with many like him) have made it their mission in life to publicly attack the Jewish and Christian faiths, Jews and Copts and Christians in general. They are willing to use all and every method to achieve what they want. Fabrications, lies, and double standards are their usual methods. They are the people who are now crying and screaming that Islam has been insulted by few cartoons published in Denmark.”
Ahmed, the blog writer stated, also runs the “ Islamic Enlightment Center” (www.manalaa.net:8888/islamic_academy.wmv).
According to the Free Copts blog, Ahmed’s center is “a location where Muslim youth receive an intensive dose of anti-Christian and anti-Semitic brain washing and incitement.”
A Dec. 8 article on the International Freedom of Expression (IFEX) website (www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/70981) stated that Ahmed was arrested in Cairo on Dec. 5 2005 by Cairo by members of the Amn-El-Dawla state security agency.
Reporters without Borders (RWB), the IFEX article stated, expressed concern about Ahmed’s detention, saying he was the second website or blog editor to be arrested since late Oct. They called for his immediate release.
Ahmed was a former editor of “Al-Shaab,” an opposition newspaper that was closed down
“Website journalists and bloggers should enjoy the same legal protection and respect as journalists working for traditional media,” IFEX reported RWB said. “The decision to arrest a journalist or blogger is serious and should only be taken in the course of transparent judicial proceedings, which was not the case with the two arrests of website and blog editors of the past six weeks.”
According to IFEX, in addition to editing Balady Net, Ahmed has also written a number of books and is a member of the Union of Egyptian Journalists. He was arrested while at the Center for Islamic Enlightenment. Before going to his office, IFEX reported that state security agents searched his home, confiscating notes, books and computer disks.
However, the blog author said by e-mail that Ahmed only remained in custody for a few days, was released and that no action has been taken against him.
There was no immediate response to an e-mail sent to Ahmed requesting comment.Balady Net is registered to Ahmed Islam and appears to be hosted by the Dallas-based Planet.com. An e-mail to Planet.com requesting comment was answered with an automatically generated response
The blog writer asked, “Will (Egyptian) President Mubarak who warned the West against the ‘Prophet Muhammad Cartoon,’ and the Egyptian government, do something to stop the ongoing incitement and offenses against Christians in Jews in the Egyptian media and bring to trial those who are promoting hatred? Or (are) Muslims superior to everybody and it's a fair game to attack Christians and Jews?”
He added by e-mail that Ahmed “is not the only case, but it's just an example of how Muslims get away with slander of other faiths and consider this freedom of speech at the same time that anyone who dares to utter a word against Islam or Muhammad is liable for imprisonment.”
* Jeremy Reynalds is a freelance writer and the founder and director of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org/ or http://www.christianity.com/joyjunction. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. Jeremy Reynalds at firstname.lastname@example.org.