Miss Mabrouk of Egypt

Check the archives too - a lot of good stuff to enjoy. Me myself? Off to new adventures in the blogosphere, if time permits.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Anti-Islamic Blogger Detained, Missing

The whereabouts of blogger Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman who was abducted from his home by Egyptian state security on Wednesday Oct. 26 is still not known. The police refused to answer questions by AP, the first wire to run the story. The last report about his whereabouts said he was on his way to an unknown detention center.

It was 3 a.m. when seven police officers took the 21 year old blogger away from his family home in Alexandria. His mother, Yousseira, says the house was searched; books and copies of Seliman’s writings were confiscated.

His friends and family says Seliman was targeting radical Islam in his writings, despite his strong connections to the Muslim community. Seliman is a student of law at Al-Azhar, the world’s highest seat of learning for Sunni Muslims. His pious Muslim family had returned from a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca just days before his arrests

"He is stubborn, he has ideas that contradict the true religion and he posts that on the Internet, serving no one but himself,” Seliman’s mother said.

Another blogger who closely followed Seliman’s detention says it is the fundamentalist Islamic Salafi movement that is behind the arrest. The blogger, Malik Moustafa, said Seliman recently had accused the Salafis of inciting the latest sectarian tensions in his neighbourhood of Mouharm Bay.

Three days before he was detained, Seliman had posted an article to his blog commenting on the violent riots that erupted when security forces clashed with thousands of angry Muslims in front of a Coptic Christian church. Four Muslims died and hundreds of people were injured during the clashes. Christians fled the area or avoided to leave their houses.

Seliman is also a correspondent for Copts United and is also writing for Civic Dialogue and his own blog (Arabic). His hard-language criticism of the Islamist’s has led other bloggers to speculate if he is a convert to Christianity. Many says Seliman’s writing is so radical and offensive that he doesn’t deserve the support of the bloggers who are spreading the words about the detention, the first security clamp-down on a blogger in the country.

Blogger Baheyya who was one of the first to alert the blogsphere about the detention of Seliman said such discussions are counterproductive and that it is much more important now to monitor the situation closely and work to obtain concrete information from State Security. (I have quoted Baheyya here). Alaa and Manal are maintaining a discussion forum about Abdolkarim where they are also posting news and html code for the ‘Free Karim’ banners we urge everybody to display on their blogs.

Since Seliman was detained by the security agency Amn al-Dawla, few believe he will see daylight during the next fourteen days or that he even will be put before the state prosecutor or be given any chances to defend himself or receive assistance.

Bloggers Amr, Tarek and Big Pharaoh are also defending Abdolkarim Seliman’s right of free speech. The Committee to Protect Bloggers has contacted several hundred media outlets.

Update 10 p.m.: CPB is posting news here. Read also the article by Global Voices, it has additional information and links.

My previous posts are here and here. Read about the sectarian tension in Alexandria here.

I have used information from AP for this write-up. Jerusalem Post and a couple of other media have already published brief stories about the detention of Seliman.

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