The world cheered as the "Arab Spring" began toppling dictators in the Muslim world. But people like me were asking, "Don't you realize who's going to take over these countries when the dictators fall?" Of course, anyone who criticized the Arab Spring was immediately labeled a racist, Islamophobic, hate-mongering bigot. After all, Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, and when Islam controls a land, you get an interfaith utopia, just like the mythical interfaith utopia of Cordoba. Now that the Muslim Brotherhood has taken the reigns in Egypt and has begun punishing people for blasphemy, however, Westerners are scratching their heads wondering what went wrong. It's Islam, Silly.
The convicted man, Albert Saber, is expected to be released on bail of about $167 pending an appeal. An open and avowed atheist, Mr. Saber, 27, was initially accused of circulating links to an offensive online video lampooning the Prophet Muhammad that set off protests across the Muslim world in September. Mr. Saber has denied promoting the video, and he is being charged for other statements critical of Islam and Christianity that police investigators found on his computer. Open profession of atheism is almost unheard-of in Egypt and is widely considered an affront to society as a whole.
Although blasphemy was a criminal offense under former President Hosni Mubarak before Egypt’s revolution as well, Mr. Saber’s case has raised special alarm because it comes against the backdrop of the sometimes violent battle over Egypt’s draft constitution, which elevates the crime of insulting religion to the level of the charter itself.
“Expect to see many more blasphemy prosecutions in the future now that it’s embedded as a crime in the constitution,” said Heba Morayef, a researcher with Human Rights Watch who is tracking the case. (Continue Reading.)