Thursday, March 29, 2007

Update on Kareem - -the jailed Egyptian Blogger

I've been following the story of Abdel Kareem Suleiman for almost a month now (see my previous post). The Free Kareem website has translated some of his actual words that so offended the Egyptian authorities (from a post about the Alexandrian Riots of October 2005 in which a nun was stabbed on the street):

I have seen with my own eyes the thugs as they break into our Christian brothers’ stores after the whole area of Maharram Beh was completely out of control of the government authorities, and I saw them as they ransack the contents of the store right and left, amidst cheering and shouting extremist Islamic slogans, and I saw them stealing the money from inside the drawers of the cash registers and splitting it among themselves as if it is justified by being owned by what they call the infidels and the worshippers of the cross.

I saw them break into a liquor store owned by a Coptic merchant Labib Lotfy and I saw them smash everything they can get their dirty hands on, including the refrigerator and the scale and the boxes and liquor bottles. I saw some of them stealing liquor bottles so they can get drunk after a hard day’s work against the Coptic infidels.

It is worth mentioning that although some people may think that this Christian-owned liquor store was particularly targeted because the owner is selling the forbidden alcoholic beverages that is forbidden in Islam, but another liquor store in front of the Christian-owned store happens to be owned by a Moslem merchant, and none of the thugs dared to attack, as they did with the Christian-owned store. Now you can see the hateful sectarian actions.

What the Moslems did yesterday in a very vulgar and criminal and horrible way proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that they don’t acknowledge others or their rights of existence or their rights to live with the freedom of expression and also consider them less than them, and these actions should be fought and exterminated for is it right to leave these horrible human beings to do what they want and kill, destroy, steal, and burn??!!

WOW! Pretty harsh comments. As I understand it, Kareem is a Muslim (or at least a secularist from a Muslim background). And yet he has the courage to expose bad behavior exhibited in the riots. In America, we regularly enjoy the freedom to speak out -- for his trouble, Kareem is jailed and his lawyers are intimidated. The prosecutor openly admits "I am on a jihad here ... If we leave the likes of him without punishment, it will be like a fire that consumes everything."

Free speech .... a fire that consumes everything. This is what despots fear.

We here in America have our problems with free speech -- we have blowhards who abuse the right by spewing filth and hatred and degradation. Sadly, many of these mountebanks receive a fat purse for their reward. The romans discovered that beer and circuses kept the masses diverted.

I hope that, when we see the chilling story of Kareem, we'll exercise our freedom of speech with a little more responsibility -- using it to build rather than destroy. Using speech to promote what is good and right and true. Paul tells us "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" (Colossians 4:6). I hope that Kareem's ordeal spurs us to the wise use of our freedom of speech. Let us show the despots they're wrong -- free speech builds a culture, it isn't a fire that destroys everything.

The people at the Free Kareem coalition are tentatively organizing worldwide demonstrations for Friday April 27, 2007:

The Free Kareem Coalition has been contacting individuals around the world who have expressed interest in holding rallies next month at Egyptian Embassies and
Consulates in their country of residence.

We believe that all freedom-loving individuals need to make their voices heard with the rest of the world. The date of the worldwide demonstrations has been tentatively set to Friday, April 27, 2007.

Any form of support from you, be it your presence in the rally, promoting it, or organizing one in your area, would be a great boost to our cause to free Kareem Amer. If you can help in any way, please let us know!

I'm not sure how I'm going to participate on that day, but I just wanted to give you all the information. If you've benefitted from reading the Eagle and Child at all, perhaps you might return the blessing by writing a letter to the Egyptian embassy or your congressperson on behalf of Kareem.