Arab human rights group condemns case against author of Where is God

Ahram Online, Thursday 28 Apr 2011

An Arab human rights group takes a stand against the charges pressed on author of Where is God, stating denying freedom of expression is not acceptable post-revolution

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned a complaint filed by a group of lawyers to the attorney general against Karam Saber's book, Ayn Allah (Where is God), accusing the author of disrespecting religious beliefs.

In the statement ANHRI issued today, the human rights NGO expressed its fear of the return of hisbah cases, which they consider a breach of the freedom of expression. This, according to ANHRI, is unacceptable after Egypt’s January 25 Revolution.

The hisbah principle, as stated in the regulations governing sharia (Islamic law) courts in Egypt, gives all Muslims the right to file lawsuits in cases where an exalted right of God has been violated, even if this does not directly harm them.  

"We shouldn’t allow anyone to play the role of the guardian of the citizens and to undertake measures on their behalf," counters the statement.

"The fairest judge is the reader, who has the right not to buy or read what he thinks is inappropriate."

Saber, a human rights activist himself, told ANHRI that he was informed that his book will be referred to the Committee of Senior Scientists of Al-Azhar (an Islamic, academic authority) for context analysis to determine if it contains offensive words.

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