Think that you have problems with the patriarch in your family? Well, what if he could send you to jail just for failing to align with his belief system?
21-year-old Karim al-Banna’s own father testified against him in court recently after the boy announced his atheistic beliefs on Facebook, therefore making him guilty of “embracing extremist ideas against Islam.”
Karim was jailed by a court in the Nile Delta province of Baheira on Saturday, says his lawyer Ahmed Abdel Nabi. “He was handed down a three-year prison sentence, and if he pays a bail of 1,000 Egyptian pounds ($140 or 117 euros) the sentence can be suspended until a verdict is issued by an appeals court,” Nabi added. The appeal will be heard on March 9th.
The student’s troubles began when his name was printed in a list of known atheists in a local publication. After this, Karim became the victim of harassment by his neighbors. In due response, he went to the police station to file a complaint against his assailants. Instead, he was accused of insulting Islam, arrested, and has now been in custody since November.
Egypt’s constitutional laws prohibit any sort of insult against Islam, Christianity and Judaism, so while his arresting might be highly amoral, it is within the limits of the law.
All he did was share his beliefs on Facebook, and now he’s facing three years in prison. Find out more…