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Egyptian civil servant could lose job for promoting Atheist beliefs

School librarian Ayman Botros is referred to court for expressing his beliefs publicly in newspapers and on television

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Dec 2014
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A minaret of a mosque is seen beside a church in Cairo February 23, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
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An Egyptian school librarian was referred to an administrative court trial on Wednesday for promoting atheist ideas.

In referring the case to the court, the administrative prosecution said that it is not acceptable for a civil servant to express his beliefs about God and religion publicly in newspapers and television, especially considering that he works in an educational institution and should be a good example for students.

Ayman Ramzy Botros, a librarian in his early 40’s who was born a Coptic Christian, was transferred by the education minister to an administrative post in May, the court could ultimately terminate his employment in education.

Botros was among a number of non-religious Egyptians who signed an open letter in September 2013 addressing then-interim president Adly Mansour with the demand to be represented in the committee that was commissioned to draft the 2014 constitution.

“As Egyptian citizens we all have citizenship rights including running for elections,” the letter read and claimed that atheists represent a considerable proportion of Egyptian society.

It said Athiests include “academics, students, doctors, artists and writers who live both inside Egypt and abroad.”

The interim president did not respond to the letter.

Religious bodies in Egypt as well as the government are working on a plan to ”confront atheism” and a number of protocols and agreements were signed in the last few months between Egypt's top religious institution Al-Azhar and the ministries of endowment, culture and youth to face what they describe as a "disturbing phenomenon."

A number of Egyptian Atheists, including Botros, have become vocal lately about their beliefs on television and in newspapers; however officials in the endowment ministry recently stated that the number of atheists in Egypt is 866.

Conducting a tally of Athiests in Egypt from official records is impossible since Egyptian law only allows members of Abrahamic religions to register their religious affiliation.

“We are many but the prejudice against us makes it hard for most of us to talk about their beliefs in public”, said Botros in one TV show.

A few days ago Egyptian police stormed what they described as the "atheists' cafe" in downtown Cairo. The municipal authorities said that the cafe was a place for Satanist atheists.

Botros, who might lose his job in the disciplinary trial, could also face a criminal court trial as the administrative prosecution also said that the education ministry filed a complaint to the general prosecutor against him.

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6



Democracia
18-12-2014 11:26pm
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Nobody
Nobody is already "born" christian, coptic or muslimic or whatsoever, as this article writes, he or she is just born as a human being. And that should be enough, but religion comes in between later... And thats exactly the moment when troubles begin...
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expat
18-12-2014 07:20pm
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i dont get the point...
a islamic country is, what it is by definition... a muslim is the best country's fellowman, the coptic and other christian's are named dhimmi's...these are the categories given by the khoran and sunna and then,below this magical devision,is the Khuffar,either believer in another diety or like here in nothing(which might be as well a relitious believe, btw) everybody with a sense knows,that egypt is no secular country nor a real democracy,so go on to a more open country,if your really are atheist or stay silent,are the only two options
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atheist
18-12-2014 10:36am
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so,, you r telling us we are satanists
so,, you are telling us we are satanists... where your godly people are killing school children for god, how stupid
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Nazinal
18-12-2014 03:57pm
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The regime appears to believe that
That does in fact appear to be what the Egyptian regime is trying to say.
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Sam Enslow
18-12-2014 09:39am
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Responsibilities of clerics
Silencing people doesn't change their beliefs about either God or politics. It only hides serious problems. If individuals are leaving church or mosque, perhaps clerics should ask themselves why. Have religious institutions become too attracted to ritual and institutional dogma as well as public displays of devotion? The individual stands alone before God to be judged. Has it become true that religions spend so much time arguing about the Nature of the Messenger that they forgot the messages of Peace and good will? Ones religion is seen in how they live their lives, not necessarily by what they say.
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Alfred
18-12-2014 08:52am
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Egyptian has to decide
If it embraces humanist ethos and progresses to the 21st century or regresses to the 14th . at the moment Egypt in particular and Islam in general is regarded as a rather unsafe place to live and hardly a place to prosper. That's why Egyptions are voting with their feet to live in places where on is free to practice whatever religion or non Religion and where the state does not intrude into their bedrooms .
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zakki
17-12-2014 10:05pm
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Middle Age
Middle Age thinking..In free society is normal to be Atheist or other beliefs without sanctions.
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