CAIRO — It took one session on Jan. 10 for a court in the Nile Delta province of Beheira to sentence Karim al-Banna, a 21-year-old student, to three years in prison for saying on Facebook that he was an atheist. The student’s lawyer complained that he was denied the right even to present a defense, but an equally chilling aspect of Mr. Banna’s case is that his father testified against him.Also telling is that Mr. Banna was originally arrested, in November, when he went to the police to complain that his neighbors were harassing him. This was after his name had appeared in a local newspaper on a list of known atheists. Instead of protecting him, the police accused him of insulting Islam.
NOTE: I am not an Atheist, but...
Here's why I'm a staunch supporter of separation of church and state, and why, frankly, I believe that we need to wipe out the scourge of religious fundamentalism aggressively instead of coddling such theocracies as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and launch a full scale intellectual defense of reason and secular lifestyles, and nip the ever-growing tide of theocratic fundamentalism in the western world as well.
No one should be arrested, harassed, denied basic rights, or killed because of their beliefs, their gender, or sexual orientation on the government sanctioned say so of ruling religions. No one.
Now, I realize that what I just wrote could well be used by such religious fundamentalists as evidence of the pernicious agenda against their righteousness. To that I say: Well, you started it. And if your beliefs are so strong why do you need to resort to barbarism and police state tactics to defend them?