Police vow to arrest Alexandria-based atheists
A special police taskforce will be formed to arrest a group of Alexandria-based atheists who declared their beliefs on Facebook, announced Alexandria Security Directorate chief Amin Ezz El-Din in a televised telephone interview.
The talk show, "Redline," aired on Honest satellite channel and hosted by Mohamed Moussa, discussed the issue of atheism in Egypt in detail. Moussa also interviewed Alexandrian activist Mostafa Zakareya, who says he is an atheist.
Ezz El-Din said that the taskforce will be formed by police officers specialized in working on such"crimes", and that they will "legalize" arrest procedures against contentious activists.
In his show, Moussa said that atheism is a foreign plot at a critical time for Egypt, as the country continues to experience political, economic and social instability.
"I will continue to air the reactions of those atheists I talked about because we have nothing to fear from, and because we will continue our war against such destructive ideas," Moussa claimed.
During the episode, Zakareya said he was keen not to "insult religions," refusing to voice criticism against Islam, adding that the only thing he strives for is acceptance amongst Egyptians as an atheist.
"I'm not here to say that Islam is bad or to criticize religion, I'm here to say that everyone is free to choose his faith, and that people should understand that religious beliefs should remain personal," Zakareya explained. "We need to deal with each other as humans only, disregarding any religious ideas."
Responding to Zakareya's comments, Sheikh Gomaa Mohamed Ali said that atheism is a "new phenomenon" that is not associated with any religion.
"Atheism was coined by the Zionists," Ali claimed.
Moussa called for Zakareya to be arrested and executed on account of him being atheist.
In another episode, in which he aired the reactions of the activist community to the contentious standoff, Moussa vowed to continue "exposing" atheists.
"I'm moving on with this issue and I'm not going to close it. I'm not leaving those people. Those kids are threatening us but we are not fearful of them," he added. "We stand against those who sabotage the country [in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood] and we are not going to leave those who sabotage out religion. We are not going to leave those who insult our religion, those who insult God, those who insult our Prophet."
Atheists on social media slammed Moussa's remarks, accusing him of being a police informant who incites against atheists and then reports them to authorities.
An Alexandrian atheist, who identifies himself as "Fe Ro" on Facebook, said that Moussa's episode actually offered an opportunity to show Egyptian Muslims about atheism and make more people aware of it as an idea.
"Later on, the episode was a trap done by a terrorist Muslim whose name is Mohamed Moussa. Just for you to realize that there is no difference between a normal Muslim and a Salafi Muslim, they are all terrorists," he claimed.
Activist Alber Saber was sentenced to three years in prison by a misdemeanor court in January 2013 for insulting religion after he published a video on his Facebook page promoting atheism.
A movie that was posted on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, almost 18 months ago, stirred a wave of anger in Islamic countries after the movie accused the Islamic religion of preaching terrorist ideas.
The movie was said to be have been produced by an Egyptian Copt living in the United States, which led the Salafi Nour Party to demonstrate in front of the US Embassy in condemnation of the movie. Some party members stormed the embassy's building.
Hardline Islamist groups in Libya also bombed the US Embassy in Benghazi, leading to the death of Ambassador Chris Steven, apparently in response to the video.
The rule of former President Mohamed Morsi was broadly criticized for its perceived crackdown on religious freedoms, as well as a wave of lawsuits against political dissidents and religious minorities accusing them of insulting Isla
Article 64 of Egypt's recently-passed Constitution stipulates, "Freedom of religion is absolute."