Hey From Egypt
Posted: 27 May 2011 02:39 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hey guys, this is TimeDilation from Egypt, I’m an atheist, engineer and sci fi buff from Cairo
I have a lot of respect for the center for inquiry and hope the best for the outreach branch

I’m still in the closet as an atheist after the heartache following my baby steps in coming out last year, but I’m thinking of giving it another try during these political times in Egypt while there is a lot talking about removing the second amendment, I still spread the word as much as I can as long as it’s safe, if not atheism then at least evolution, which I found to be a much safer bet, meaning, the incidents when I was harassed and beaten up where all after me criticizing the quran as man made, but the times when I have a scientific argument (evolution, sexual, psychological, the impossibility of noah’s ark, ....ect) I faced minimal aggression and just the usual “well that’s what you think” or “these are lies from the west” which still sucks but hey, at least I was heard and reached the minds of some.

so was just saying hi
have any advice do tell and anything I can do for outreach, I m ready
cheers

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Posted: 27 May 2011 04:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Welcome to the CFI Forum, TimeDilation. Yes, I’d think Cairo would be a difficult place for atheism to thrive, IIRC in order to visit Egypt one has to fill out a form indicating religion, and “none” is not an option. But best of luck to you!

I’m not sure what outreach opportunities CFI would have. My sense is that the best way to start is by local organizing with like-minded people in your area, though, if that’s the sort of thing that interests you.

Meanwhile please enjoy hanging out here on the Forum.

Cheers,

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Posted: 27 May 2011 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Welcome TimeDilation.  I live in the Bible Belt, so I can imagine what it is like, except we don’t have beatings and stuff.  So it’s not quite the same. You are safe here from that sort of stuff, so please feel free to start or join any conversation.

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Posted: 27 May 2011 02:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Meanwhile, stay safe in Cairo… rolleyes

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Posted: 28 May 2011 01:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Welcome.

TimeDilation - 27 May 2011 02:39 AM

but I’m thinking of giving it another try during these political times in Egypt while there is a lot talking about removing the second amendment,

Out of curiosity, would you mind giving a bit more information here? I am not familiar with Egypt’s Constitution.

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Posted: 28 May 2011 06:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Welcome, and like TA I am curious about the Egyptian Constitution.

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Posted: 28 May 2011 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Some info on the Egyptian constitution…

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Posted: 28 May 2011 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Sure, the 2nd is “Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation.”
And from it comes the president must be a Muslim male and there is no such thing as atheist citizens

All of Egyptian atheists and agnostics - even if outspoken and risking it - are counted among the Muslim percentage, so however much we are, no one will know
I met a ton of atheists and almost everyone is in the closet which means I might have met more and never knew, say I mention Evolution to a group of 5, all 5 will disagree with me, but when we leave, one of them will come to me one on one and say that he’s agnostic and believes in Evolution, so we ll never know any number or % close to accurate
The closest estimate is in a saying well known to us which is “go to Cairo and 1 in 50 people you meet is an atheist, Go to Alex and 1 in 10 you meet is an atheist, Go to Asyut and you lose your head”
basically, Upper Egypt is our version of the bible belt and Alexandria is our California, it has the most open minded communities in the country and the weakest influence of the muslim brotherhood, last time I was in Bibliotheca Alexandrina they had Dennett talking about consciousness on the big screen, so Alex is fine and would definitely move there but I m tied to work and collage here at the moment.
Cairo on the other hand is a mixed bag, on one hand you have a hive of well educated rational people in universities, corporations and activist political groups, on the other you have El Azhar and the stronghold of the muslim brotherhood, so you ll have the moderate muslim who believes in evolution and wishes for a secular Egypt walking right next to a salafi who would kill you for apostasy if he knew.
But hey, that creates a constant tension and arguments between the moderates and the fundamentals, mostly arguments about women’s rights or the non existence of them in the case of fundies, so best of luck to the moderates, these guys feel more like deists than like muslims, they believe in allah and fasting ramadan, and that’s about it, which is great.

and thanks for the welcome guys
cheers

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Posted: 28 May 2011 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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TimeDilation - 28 May 2011 06:32 AM

Sure, the 2nd is “Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation.”
And from it comes the president must be a Muslim male and there is no such thing as atheist citizens

All of Egyptian atheists and agnostics - even if outspoken and risking it - are counted among the Muslim percentage, so however much we are, no one will know
I met a ton of atheists and almost everyone is in the closet which means I might have met more and never knew, say I mention Evolution to a group of 5, all 5 will disagree with me, but when we leave, one of them will come to me one on one and say that he’s agnostic and believes in Evolution, so we ll never know any number or % close to accurate
The closest estimate is in a saying well known to us which is “go to Cairo and 1 in 50 people you meet is an atheist, Go to Alex and 1 in 10 you meet is an atheist, Go to Asyut and you lose your head”
basically, Upper Egypt is our version of the bible belt and Alexandria is our California, it has the most open minded communities in the country and the weakest influence of the muslim brotherhood, last time I was in Bibliotheca Alexandrina they had Dennett talking about consciousness on the big screen, so Alex is fine and would definitely move there but I m tied to work and collage here at the moment.
Cairo on the other hand is a mixed bag, on one hand you have a hive of well educated rational people in universities, corporations and activist political groups, on the other you have El Azhar and the stronghold of the muslim brotherhood, so you ll have the moderate muslim who believes in evolution and wishes for a secular Egypt walking right next to a salafi who would kill you for apostasy if he knew.
But hey, that creates a constant tension and arguments between the moderates and the fundamentals, mostly arguments about women’s rights or the non existence of them in the case of fundies, so best of luck to the moderates, these guys feel more like deists than like muslims, they believe in allah and fasting ramadan, and that’s about it, which is great.

and thanks for the welcome guys
cheers

That’s a great description. I hope you can eventually find work in Alex! You sound like a great fit for this site. Your article 2 also states Sharia law - is that enforced unevenly according to whether you’re in the “Bible belt” or Alexandria? I don’t know your gender (pic might not be you) but if you are female, best of luck with the fight to get equal rights.

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Posted: 28 May 2011 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Nah I’m a guy dude, wanted any avatar to fill the space and randomly put grace slick up there

and yes, anything in the constitution is applies on all of Egypt and it’s not sharia law in there really, but the important thing is what gets applied, in any industrialized place, the matter is in the hands of the police and state security, both of which hate the brotherhood (long story), that made them intentionally go against anything they want, so it was for the wrong reasons but it ended up with good results for Cairo, after the revolution, state security is gone and the brotherhood is already doing it’s best to get in power, and if that happens, that not really-sharia law will be applied hence we’re trying to fight that, it’s was really complex pre-25 jan cause you were choosing the lesser of 2 evils but now there is only one, so it’s clear for most of moderates which side to take, hopefully

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Posted: 28 May 2011 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thank you for the information. It’s always interesting to see how someone in these countries where we’re hearing about revolutions sees things.

I’m not entirely optomistic about having robust secularism in Egypt in the short term. From what I’ve seen in history, these kinds of social revolutions take a lot of time to build up, and sometimes there are some nasty fights along the way. The problem with fundamentalism in any religion in terms of social reform is that fundamentalists are always the first group to resort to the most extreme violence. Unfortunately, this often works. If they manage to overpower the police, the fight’s essentially over.

Of course, the best offense against fundamentalism seems to be to maximize the open flow of information and ideas.

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Posted: 28 May 2011 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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TimeDilation - 28 May 2011 07:10 AM

Nah I’m a guy dude, wanted any avatar to fill the space and randomly put grace slick up there

and yes, anything in the constitution is applies on all of Egypt and it’s not sharia law in there really, but the important thing is what gets applied, in any industrialized place, the matter is in the hands of the police and state security, both of which hate the brotherhood (long story), that made them intentionally go against anything they want, so it was for the wrong reasons but it ended up with good results for Cairo, after the revolution, state security is gone and the brotherhood is already doing it’s best to get in power, and if that happens, that not really-sharia law will be applied hence we’re trying to fight that, it’s was really complex pre-25 jan cause you were choosing the lesser of 2 evils but now there is only one, so it’s clear for most of moderates which side to take, hopefully

Wow, didn’t recognize grace slick (time flies!). Oh, the link from the Egyptian gov’t that I put up says it’s sharia. Keep up the good fight and good luck!

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Posted: 28 May 2011 06:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Welcome TimeDilation !!  grin  I applaud you for your struggle to be reasonable in an irrational environment.  It’s a noble struggle.

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Posted: 28 May 2011 08:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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yeah, do stay safe.  I think your country is gonna need people like you—and not just in the short run.

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Posted: 29 May 2011 06:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Welcome!  I’ve just learned more about what’s really going on in Egypt than I’ve learned from hours of network news.  Thank you, you are very articulate.

From your command of English and the vernacular I would guess you’ve spent time in the “west”.  If so, you know how limited a free press can actually be.  It’s great to have insight from an unfiltered source.

If there’s some way I could be of service, let me know.  I have no idea what your access to literature, etc is like.  Good luck, be careful and safe.  While the religious community values martyrs, I like to think we value functioning intellects.

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