The UAE arrests a secular activist for disrespecting religion
One should not start the day by browsing the Internet -especially if one is in contact with non religious and secular activists from the Middle East, who express their views and positions regarding the epidemic of religion, namely Islam, particularly when they do it publicly and openly on the Internet-, for one may receive painful news that would mar one’s clarity of mind, and drown it in a whirlpool of grief and sorrow for the rest of the day. This is what happened to me today when I woke up to the bad news of the arrest of one of my facebook atheist friends, who was accused of a weird crime: “disrespecting religion”. My friend Mahmoud Elsayed, holding the Egyptian nationality, was arrested three weeks earlier in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, where he lived and worked..
And according to reliable information from one of his family members, Mahmoud, known on facebook as Tony, may face up to five years of imprisonment in the UAE justice system. We still don’t have enough information about the whereabouts of his arrest, whether it was a complaint from someone, or that the police have been spying on his activities on the Internet, and then ordered the arrest. Would the legal and social situation in the Emirates allow him to defend himself and contact a lawyer who would take his case, where Islam is the claimant? Or do we have to ask for international lawyers from outside the Islamic world?
The Islamic world nowadays lives in a situation which is very much similar to the times of the inquisition when the opponents of the Church were beheaded. I consider the arrest of Tony as an abusive and unjust act that goes against the principles of human rights, and I beseech the international community, the UN, and non governmental organizations to intervene and protect secular activists in the Islamic world, and to put severe sanctions on any country that does not protect the right to freedom of belief, of opinion, and conscience.
I am very worried about the situation of Mahmoud Khaled, who was arrested for his opinions and beliefs, and I consider the authorities of the UAE fully responsible for anything that could happen to him or to his family or friends.