Thursday, May 3, 2007
Freedom Of Speech
Today is World Press Freedom Day. But while most of the free world celebrates the freedom of speech, there are still many being opressed and silenced. They are tortured, jailed, and even murdered for their right to speak and think freely. Abdel Kareem Nabil Soliman, a 22 year old Egyptian student, blogged under the name "Kareem Amer". Within a year he was being watched by Egyptian authorities. His crime, speaking openling and honestly and denouncing attacks he personally witnessed by Muslims on Coptic Christians. He denounced extremist views being taught at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, risking his life in the process.
In May 2006, Soliman wrote, "It causes us to cry, be grieved, and be struck with frustration to find ourselves threatened with death. Not because we kill. Not because we loot others property. Not because we trasngress the limits of our freedom. But because we think!"
In February, Soliman was sentenced to three years in jail for "insulting Islam" and one year for insulting President Hosni Mubarak. He has been disowned by his father who says he should be executed under sharia law if he does not repent.
The Human Rights Council has recently passed a resolution urging the world to ban public defamation of religion, specifically Islam. While it may have been passed with good intentions, it can now be used by those seeking to opress their citizens right to freedom of speech.
So please take a moment of your day, on this day when the world celebrates the freedom of the press, and remember those like Soliman who have been silenced and who have lost their freedom and maybe their lives.