Egyptian author appeals for protection following Islamist threats
After making contentious remarks about 'Islamic fascism,' Germany-based author Hamed Abdel-Samad appeals to Egyptian authorities for protection against campaign launched by hard-line Islamists calling for his death
A Germany-based Egyptian author has requested protection from Egyptian authorities after ultra-conservative Islamists in Egypt declared him an "apostate" and launched an online campaign calling for his death.
Hamed Abdel-Samad, a researcher in political and Islamic studies, was invited by Egypt's so-called 'Secularist Movement' to speak at a 4 June forum devoted to "Islamic fascism." Abdel-Samad's speech, however, appears to have put him in hot water – and may even have put his life in jeopardy.
At the forum, Abdel-Samad asserted that "Islamic fascism" could trace its origins to "the return of the Muslims to Mecca [some 1500 years ago], when they... destroyed all the pagan idols."
Before this, he added, "they had accepted religious pluralism in Medina... At this time, they had said, 'You have your religion and we have ours'."
In response to the assertions, Assem Abdel-Maged, a leading member of Egypt's ultra-conservative Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya, and Mahmoud Shabaan, Arabic rhetoric professor at Al-Azhar University (known for his strong stance against secularism), declared Abdel-Samad an "apostate."
On Egypt's religious Hafez television channel, Shabaan accused Abdel-Samad of having been an "apostate" even before his recent statements. "He has been flagrantly questioning Islam and thinks it is a bad religion, a fascist religion... His punishment should be death," Shabaan declared.