En gruppe reforminnstilte muslimer som avviser sharia og kun vil følge Koranen, forfølges av egyptiske myndigheter i samarbeid med det religiøse establishment. Bloggeren Reda Abdel Rahman har sittet fengslet siden oktober og slipper ikke ut, selv om en domstol har sagt at han skal det.
Rehman ble anklaget for å ha «fornærmet islam». Hans advokat sier han ble truet av ledelsen ved Al Azhar-universitetet til å stanse bloggen der Rehman gikk inn for reformer og større åpenhet. Rehman nektet. Han skal ha blitt torturert.
Dette er et mønster: myndighetene samarbeider med sunnni-etablissementet mot liberale strømninger, mens de mer ekstreme er sterkere og bedre organisert, og grensene mer utydelige. Rehmans familie fikk ikke besøke ham i fengsel, mens medlemmer av Det muslimske Brorskap fikk besøk uten problemer.
To curry favor with this influential religious establishment, the Egyptian government has brutally cracked down on members of the Koranist movement, leading to the imprisonment and torture of over 20 members and the exile of many more. This unique collaboration between the government and Islamic traditionalists refutes current claims by the state that Egypt is secular and that it is working to fight extremism and terrorism.
The Egyptian security position against Reda is incomprehensible» said Heba Abdel Rahman, Reda’s sister. «They allow visits to the families of Muslim Brotherhood detainees, but they would not allow us the same rights. When we protested they pointed their guns at us, threatened to open fire, and threw us out of the police station.»
Six local human rights organizations have volunteered to defend Reda and sent lawyers to his interrogation. «It was like an inquisition from the Middle Ages,» said Ahmed Samih, head of the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies. «The Egyptian general prosecutor was asking Reda whether he prays or not, how he prays, and why he denies some of the Sunni traditions.»
Prominent Egyptian activists like Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim blame the Egyptian Emergency Law for the human rights abuses characterized by Rahman’s arrest. The law, which was enacted after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, effectively suspended the Constitution and allowed the government unprecedented powers. While the government insists that the law is important in the fight against terrorism, Ibrahim asserts that it is being used instead to limit the freedom of reformers.
«The government promised to use emergency laws only in terrorism cases,» he said. «The irony is that the Emergency Law is now being used against bloggers who use the Internet to fight terrorism!»