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".