Obama's jihad in the Middle East continues. Worse, he means to bring these free speech restrictions here. Let him try it -- he'll have a real American freedom revolution on his hands:
A prominent Egyptian-German author has gone into hiding after Islamist hardliners in Egypt called for his death, accusing the writer of insulting Islam.
The threats against Hamed Abdel-Samad came after he told a conference in Cairo earlier this month that “religious fascism” can be traced back to the origins of Islam, when the Prophet Mohammed’s followers were urged to destroy pagan idols.
That provoked a sharp reaction from Islamist hardliners on television and social media. Assem Abdel-Maged, a prominent member of the ultra-conservative Gamaa Islamiya party, described Mr. Abdel-Samad as an infidel.
“He has blatantly taken a stab at Islam, he must be punished by death,” Mr. Abdel-Maged said during an appearance last week on Al-Hafez, a privately-owned religious channel.
The remarks were welcomed by the show’s host, Mahmoud Shaaban, another Islamist hardliner who has previously called for the death of leaders of the National Salvation Front, Egypt’s main opposition to the government of President Mohammed Morsi.
Mr. Abdel-Samad is the son of a prominent Egyptian Imam, and is known for his writings and speeches on the dangers of religious extremism.
Communicating via email and Facebook messages from an undisclosed location, Mr. Abdel-Samad said he wouldn’t be intimidated by the latest threats. “I will continue to write what I think without self-censorship because if they succeed in silencing me for that reason, they will soon silence every other writer and journalist for minor reasons,” he said.
Mr. Abdel-Samad said that some Islamist politicians are trying to use his remarks on Islam in an effort to discredit the wider political opposition to Mr. Morsi’s government, which is facing mass demonstrations later this month. “It is another cheap way to misuse the religious feelings of simple Egyptians to distract them from the real political and economic problems in Egypt,” he said.
The death threats have prompted Mr. Abdel-Samad’s Germany-based publishing house, Droemer Knaur, to issue a statement calling on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to press Mr. Morsi to denounce the threats, and to protect Mr. Abdel-Samad, who lives in Germany but is a frequent visitor to Egypt.
Egyptian authorities have not yet commented publicly on the issue. But Khaled el Sherif, a spokesman for Gamaa Islamiya, distanced his organization from Mr. Abdel-Maged’s remarks. “We reject the use of violence completely and we respect the freedom of media and expression,” Mr El Sherif said. “The Gamaa has experimented with violence before and will not return to it again because we believe in the peacefulness of preaching our cause,” he added.
Gamaa Islamiya was formed in 1970s as a militant group opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood’s non-violent stance and undertook numerous attacks on Egyptian security forces, Christians and other perceived opponents of Islam in the 1990s. However, after entering the political scene, the group has since renounced violence and has allied itself with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties against secular and liberal blocs.