Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Friday 5 January 2018

Egypt & blasphemy

It is thought that the next move by the Egyptian Government is to ban atheism, treating it as a form of blasphemy, punishable by death or worse, imprisonment.
In recent years there seems to have been a more tolerant attitude in the Islamic world, towards further secularisation. This however is being reversed, it seems to me, in Iran, Turkey and Egypt, in particular, as new leaders revert to a more stringent interpretation of what is or isn't acceptable in an Islamic republic.
A 33 year old British woman is being held in a notorious Egyptian jail on the charge of the illegal importation of the drug tramadol. The drug, an opiate, was for the use of her Egyptian partner who claims to suffer from back pain.
Putting aside, for the moment, the question of the adviseability of taking an Egyptian as a partner, why would anyone want to visit Egypt, a country ruled by a fervent Islamic militia. These leaders want to reverse a move by their countries to engage more with the Western, more Christian, nations, moves, they believe, calculated to weaken the influence of Islam. In fact, is it not the case, that these regimes are using religion, not to protect their faith but to control the population.
But what can we do about it? People, quite rightly, want to visit the treasures of Egypt but would it not make a statement to these oppressive regimes if the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (and maybe the EU), advised a boycott until a more tolerant attitude towards foreign nationals and their beliefs was adopted?

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