The 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.
In an email sent on the day of his detainment he wrote to Milad, in response to a survey about Egyptian bloggers that he doesn't mind his name being mentioned in it. He says that although what he writes is considered very sensitive by many. Freedom of expression is in jeopardy if religion is going to be considered a red line. He says in the email that he was once attacked by some thugs as a reaction to what he writes and publishes. Almost everyone in the blogosphere do not support his opinions at all. Yet, a lot stand against his detention by security forces.
Malek says (Arabic) that such acts weaken the images of Islam. As a civilised debate would reconstruct all his invalid opinions. Other believe in his right for a free trial. While some see that this is totally against freedom of speech. However, the comments of some anonymous posters and non-bloggers consider his detention a right thing and that the security forces did a good job. Accusing the bloggers who started the campaign, that they are trying to blindly copy Western democracy.
Ibn abdel aziz warns (Arabic) that the security forces might be dividing the blogosphere, when they take away someone outspoken against Islam, Muslims would cheer. If they detain a radical Muslim; secularists and Christians would cheer. One by one they would divide bloggers.
Baheyya wonders if:
“It remains to be seen whether he has been “preventively detained” for the usual 15-day chunks and whether he will be formally charged by State Security Prosecution. The first few days (sometimes weeks) of a detention are always the murkiest, with Amn al-Dawla deliberately keeping everyone in the dark to instill fear and confusion. The causes of Karim's detention thus remain entirely unclear. Did neighborhood toughs instigate the police to arrest him? Are security agents punishing Abdel Karim for his writings? Why did his family appear to be unconcerned with locating his whereabouts?”
Alaa warns that people detained by security forces face very little chance to be tried fairly, and that he might be tortured. Alaa also switched his Egyptian blogaggregator to aggregate posts about Abdolkarim only.
Abdolkarim, regardless of his opinions, has the right for a fair trial.
The Commitee to Protect Bloggers is also following the news.