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Arizona Congressman to Mubarak: Free Blogger March 11, 2007

Posted by publicpolitics in Uncategorized.
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Several NowPublic commentators have written in recent weeks about the four year prison sentence imposed on Egyptian blogger Kareem Solimon, convicted of defaming Islam. Representative Trent Franks (R-Arizona) has entered the fray via a Washingon Post letter to the editor. The Congressman calls on Mubarak to pardon Solimon “immediately”, or risk losing two billion dollars per year in American aid:

While Mr. Soliman was critical of extremism within Islam, the ability to discuss one’s religious beliefs is an important aspect of freedom of religion and expression, both of which are essential in democratic societies and should not be prohibited in legislation. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief has stated that “defamation of religions may offend people and hurt their religious feelings, but it does not necessarily or at least directly result in a violation of their rights, including their right to freedom of religion.”

Source: washingtonpost.com

Franks says “Egypt is an ally of the United States in the struggle for freedom, receiving nearly $2 billion in foreign aid annually. However, Congress is concerned with Egypt’s stifling of basic human rights. “

That is certainly not the strongest threat I’ve ever read, but it is certainly a warning shot. And it is one fired from a cannon loaded by citizen journalists, bloggers, and press activists who in recent weeks have filled cyberspace with information about this outrage. I am proud to say that NP has been on the forefront of the campaign to publicize this particularly pernicious form of censorship. Yet Kareem is still in prison- we may not rest, just yet. Instead, we need to renew our efforts on behalf of this jailed fellow journalist, who did nothing except express an opinion.

Mubarak, we are watching. And if we have our way, the whole world will be watching too.

Read NP’s bigbrother

Read NP’s Ahmadsherif

Read NP’s Clorenz1

Read NP’s Salik

Read my NP posting on the expansion of Egyptian censorship.

Read the BBC news on Soliman’s harsh sentence

Tags: violation | stated | SOCIETIES | RELIGIOUS | Religion | Prohibited | OFFEND | necessarily | legislation | including | hurt | freedom | feelings | extremism | expression | essential | directly | DEMOCRATIC | Defamation | critical | Blogger | aspect | ability | Soliman | Rapporteur | Politics | Islam | Egyptian | Egypt | belief

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