01 May 2007

Another Blogger Silenced

This weekend the blogosphere lost another of Egypt's most prominent political bloggers, Sandmonkey, who cited harassment by the security services as his main reason for going offline:

"It took me a while to take note of the fear that has been gripping our little blogosphere and comprehend what it really means. The prospects for improvement, to put it slightly, look pretty grim. I was the model of caution, and believing in my invincibility by managing not to get arrested for the past 2 and a half years, I've grown reckless."
Sandmonkey was known for his stinging commentary on the Islamisation of Egyptian society and his virulent criticism of President Mubarak's 26-year-old regime; his posts, as he put it: "are usually emotionally charged and reflect my anger or disdain or cynicism towards what Egypt has become over the past two years."

This comes as human rights in Egypt have suffered yet another setback, with the country's Court of Administrative Justice ruling that Christian converts to Islam are forbidden from reverting to their original faith. The court maintains that permitting such actions would constitute a "manipulation of Islam and Muslims" and violate the prohibition against apostasy under Islamic Shari'a.

Officially the Egyptian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and belief, but judgements such as this and the imprisonment of a pro-democracy blogger earlier in the year expose the truth about the worrying direction the country appears to be heading.