Detained for Deriding Islam
Under the heading, "Detained for Deriding Islam", the well-known Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram Weekly [13-19 April 2000], reported that: "A writer, accused of attacking Islam, has been ordered by the state prosecutor to be remanded into custody for 15 days." The reporter, Ms. Jailan Halawi, continues as follows:
"The Egyptian author of several books described as attacking Islam, the Qur'an and the Prophet Mohammed is being investigated by the state prosecutor...Salaheddin Mohsen, 52, faces the possibility of being charged with promoting an erroneous ideology with the aim of deriding Islam. In his more than one dozen books, which have a limited domestic distribution, the author expounds his views on Islam, citing it as the main reason for what he views as the 'backwardness' of many predominantly Muslim countries."
'Mohsen was not arrested because of his beliefs; he is free to embrace whatever ideology he pleases, but this freedom should not extend to propagating erroneous beliefs'", a source close to the investigation told Al-Ahram Weekly.
"The law, the source continued, 'is not and will never be, against freedom of expression, but any country has the right to protect its religious beliefs against the propagation of deviant or extremist thought.'...
"After finishing his high school studies in 1967, Mohsen began reading the books of revealed religion as well as philosophical texts. he was profoundly influenced by the writings of Jibran Khalil Jibran, an early 20th century Lebanese-American poet, and Abu Al-Ala'a Al-Me'arri, an Abbasid poet well-known for his pessimism. By 1972, Mohsen had become an atheist. Through his readings and observations, he came to the conclusion that advancement is achieved through science and not religion...
"On Tuesday, the Writers Union issued a statement that 'if proven guilty of deriding religion', Mohsen would immediately face disciplinary action by the organisation. The statement also denounce any attempt to defame religious beliefs, affirming the union's respect for all revealed religions, freedom of expression and national unity".