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Religious freedom and freedom of expression

21. Human Rights Activists Warn Against Increased Sectarian Violence

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Article title: 
21. Human Rights Activists Warn Against Increased Sectarian Violence
Article pages: 
13
Date of source: 
December 19, 2010
Author: 
Īmān Zayn al-‘Ābidīn
Reviewer: 
Ahmad al-Ghaz&#363l&#299
Summary
Article summary: 

During the “Human Rights in Egypt: Between Hopes and Reality” seminar, various activists said that religious freedom is every person’s right and called for the establishment of a set of rules to ensure de facto equality, suggesting that school curriculum be updated to plant religious tolerance in children.

Head of the Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights, Husām Bahjat, said that article eighteen of the constitution states that each person has complete freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, and that the state should recognize this freedom by issuing a unified law for building places of worship. Bahjat also pointed out the rise in sectarian violence in the past three years to 52 cases in seventeen governorates, some of which were committed by the authorities.

Hamdī al-Asyūtī and ‘Imād Thomas confirmed Bahjat’s claims, with the latter presenting a historical overview of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Father Sa‘īd Ibrāhīm said that he has managed to issue permits for 40 churches since the 1970's and one must only follow the law and required procedures to do so. The seminar’s closing speech was given by Lebanon Christian Charles Mālik, who praised the Egyptian constitution and called for it to be followed.

Secular Coptic leader Kamāl Zākhir said that the solution is through establishing a true secular state.

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17. Monday: The Islamic Research Academy discusses how to respond to the American reports on religious freedom

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17. Monday: The Islamic Research Academy discusses how to respond to the American reports on religious freedom
Article pages: 
15
Date of source: 
December 4, 2010
Author: 
Not mentioned
Summary
Article summary: 

The Islamic Research Academy at the Azhar is set for a meeting on Monday which will be headed by Azhar Grand Shaykh Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyib, Endowments Minister Dr. Mahmūd Hamdī Zaqzūq, Grand Muftī Dr. ‘Alī Jum‘ah, and Azhar University Head Dr. ‘Abd Allāh al-Husaynī.

The meeting will discuss the American report on religious freedom that was issued on November 17. The statement, which will include Christian leaders, is intended to represent a unified national framework. The Grand Shaykh had previously emphasized the importance of a studied, scholarly stance from the country’s Muslims and Copts.

He also asked members of the academy to study the American report thoroughly and form a committee to discuss the report with the Egyptian church accordingly.

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33. Islamic Research Academy attacks the American report on religious freedoms

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33. Islamic Research Academy attacks the American report on religious freedoms
Article pages: 
4
Date of source: 
December 7, 2010
Author: 
Ahmad al-Buhayrī
Reviewer: 
Katia Saqq&#257
Summary
Article summary: 

The Islamic Research Academy has launched a barrage of criticism against the American Report on Religious Freedom issued by the American State Department.

The academy criticized the report for “including blatant fallacies,” many of which resulted from ignorance of Islam and the situation of minorities. Others are the result of bad faith and an intention to interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs.

Al-Buhayrī reports that the academy has sent its report to the concerned American administrations. He further commented on the content of the American report.

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98. The Flogging a Woman

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98. The Flogging a Woman
Article pages: 
4
Date of source: 
December 15, 2010
Author: 
Khālid Muntasir
Summary
Article summary: 

The author denounces in strong terms the public flogging of a Sudanese woman for wearing a pair of trousers. He describes footage of the incident as symbolizing "backwardness, ignorance, and racisim."

She was lashed on "the face, the thighs, the posterior, and the stomach" with the flogger's demeanor suggesting "he was about to have an orgasm."

"Videos of Sudanese whippings and Afghan stonings represent scenes that belong in the Middle Ages and the age of witch hunts," Muntasir writes.

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52. The Azhar disapproves of U.S. Religious Freedom Report, will respond fully on Monday

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52. The Azhar disapproves of U.S. Religious Freedom Report, will respond fully on Monday
Article pages: 
1
Date of source: 
December 1, 2010
Author: 
Muhammad Sayyid
Reviewer: 
Ahmad al-Ghaz&#363l&#299
Summary
Article summary: 

During its monthly meeting, the Islamic Research Academy denounced the U.S. State Department’s report on religious freedom in Egypt, calling it an unwelcome and inappropriate intervention in Egyptian affairs. Azhar Grand Shaykh Ahmad al-Tayyib said that the Academy will release an official response next Monday after a meeting on the matter. Azhar spokesperson Muhammad Rafā‘ah al-Tahtāwī said that the meeting will include the leaders of Egypt’s biggest churches so that the response represents all Egyptians.

The Academy also discussed a doctrinal question from Nigeria concerning the punishment of theft in light of Nigeria’s increasing poverty level. The Academy responded by saying that, even though punishment of theft is one of Islam’s fundamental laws, it should be dealt out according to the severity of the crime. A fatwá was issued that effectively lessens the punishment of theft depending on the circumstances.

The Academy also denied ties with Muhammad Subhī al-Sharqāwi, a school owner in the United Kingdom who claims to be an Azhar representative and Muftī.

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46. The story behind the American reports on religious freedom

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Article title: 
46. The story behind the American reports on religious freedom
Article pages: 
15
Date of source: 
Samīr Marqus
Reviewer: 
Ahmad al-Ghaz&#363l&#299
Summary
Article summary: 

Samīr follows up his article from last week in which he stated that the American reports on religious freedom issued between 2000 and 2005 are more important than the one issued on November 17th.

He explains how the former reports explained the main ideas adopted by the Egyptian government to deal with various local issues, while the latter is merely observational. The former, says Samīr, advocates Lord Cromer’s 100 year old idea of Egypt consisting of a number of religious groups, making it almost impossible to become a secular state. He calls the idea a “time-bomb” that was planted in the early reports.

Samīr also talks about the report’s history and how it was born from the United States Religious Freedom law. He then discusses the differences of this year’s report, including how Egypt's status on the religious freedom “watch list” was not mentioned for the first time since 2004.

Finally, Samīr argues that there are many other important points that the report should have discussed.

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1. Committee of Azhar scholars and church leaders to respond to the American religious freedom report

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1. Committee of Azhar scholars and church leaders to respond to the American religious freedom report
Article pages: 
8
Date of source: 
November 26, 2010
Author: 
Muhammad ‘Abd al-Khāliq
Reviewer: 
Ahmad al-Ghaz&#363l&#299
Summary
Article summary: 

The Islamic Research Academy, headed by Azhar Grand Shaykh Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyib, has decided to put together a committee to respond to the United States Department of State’s report on religious freedom in Egypt. The academy called the report an "unacceptable interference in local affairs.” The committee will include various Azhar scholars, members of the Islamic Research Academy, and church leaders, with the intention of representing all Egyptians. In regards to the deadly protests in Giza, the academy said that its stance remains the same and called upon all Egyptians to hold on to national unity.

Key Words: Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyib – Azhar – Mahmūd Hamdī Zaqzūq – Muhammad Subhī al-Sharqāwī

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56. Shākir: Jews attempting to disturb Egypt’s security are responsible for suspicious American reports

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56. Shākir: Jews attempting to disturb Egypt’s security are responsible for suspicious American reports
Article pages: 
5
Date of source: 
November 24, 2010
Author: 
Editorial
Reviewer: 
Ahmad al-Ghaz&#363l&#299
Summary
Article summary: 

Egyptian Union for Human Rights Vice President Muqbil Shākir said that he completely refuses foreign supervision over this Sunday's parliamentary elections. He also called the U.S. State Department’s report on religious freedom a suspicious, Jewish attempt to disturb Egypt’s security. He claimed that the Egyptian Union for Human Rights is in charge of monitoring human rights in Egypt and that foreign reports do not concern them.

Key Words: Muqbil Shākir - United States Department of State - Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organization – Muslim Brotherhood

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30. The Devil preaches

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Article title: 
30. The Devil preaches
Article pages: 
1
Date of source: 
November 22, 2010
Author: 
Usāmah Sarāyā
Reviewer: 
Ahmad al-Ghaz&#363l&#299
Summary
Article summary: 

Usāmah Sarāyā talks about the United States’ ongoing failure in the Middle East and how its war in Iraq has made the country a worse place than when it was ruled by Saddām Husayn. He says that the United States is in no position to be handing out advice, neither on democracy nor religious freedom.

Key Words: The United States of America – Iraq – Saddām Hussayn – George W. Bush – President Barack Obama – Israel – Palestine

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24. Between the lines

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Article title: 
24. Between the lines
Article pages: 
16
Date of source: 
November 20, 2010
Author: 
Mustafá ‘Ubayd
Reviewer: 
Ahmad al-Ghaz&#363l&#299
Summary
Article summary: 

Mustafá opens with a story about famous Egyptian writer, Anīs Mansūr. The moral of the story is that people in Egypt have been made to follow religious, political and cultural leaders blindly. He says that the average Egyptian has lost the ability to form his/her own personal opinion. He criticizes the mass protest of the United States Department of State’s report on religious freedom and accusations of it being interference in local affairs.

Key Words: Anīs Mansūr - United States Department of State

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