Islam Online in Crisis as Administration Threatens to Fire Journalists

IslamOnline in Crisis as Administration Threatens to Fire Journalists

'The employees have said the new administration consists of conservative Salafist and Wahhabi – known for their conservative approach to Islam – Muslims who want to remove at least three sections from the website. They are the “Islamyoon,” “Madarik” and “Youth.” The journalists argue this is an effort to push a new “conservative agenda” that runs counter to the traditional Islam Online effort of bring people together.

The move on the moderate Islam Online is likely to spur the already tense relationship between moderate Muslims and the conservatives, who have been attempting to buttress their support in Egypt for the past few years. Those from the Gulf have been pushing their agenda in Egypt for years, but only recently has their voice become stronger and supporters flocking to their ranks, says Gamal al-Banna, an elderly Islamic scholar and liberal thinker.

“We have for far too long allowed the conservatives to come into Egypt and have done nothing about it,” he began. “It is time to speak out for what Egyptians want.”'

bc.edu/bc_org/avp/soe/cihe/newsletter/Number51/p5_Kraince.htm

The well-known case of Egyptian scholar Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd provides an example of how the Islamic legal system has been used in efforts to silence critical scholarship within the field of Islamic studies. Abu-Zayd, a former professor of Islamic studies at the University of Cairo, was put on trial by an Islamic Family Court after he published criticism of the relationship between contemporary Islamic discourse and what he called the "social and economic scandal" within Egypt's Islamic banking sector. The court declared Abu-Zayd an apostate on the grounds of his scholarly work on Qur'anic hermeneutics. It also successfully argued that it held the right to declare Abu-Zayd's marriage annulled, ostensibly to protect his Muslim wife from the sin of being married to a non-Muslim. As legal wrangling continued in his home country, Abu-Zayd and his wife immigrated to the Netherlands, where he now holds the Averro?s Chair for Humanism and Islamic Studies at the University for Humanistics in Utrecht.

Egypt has had a long history of crushing any of the more academic, critical or liberal paths of Islam.

And where authoritarian governments do not pursue pushing the academics into obscurity, the fanatic criminal elements of Islam have no qualms about serving notice to the liberal Muslims.

If that is not enough, petro-dollars ensure that Islamic education centers will be filled with resources that the Salafis want to define Islam.

[quote="Darryl1958, post:2, topic:190755"]
bc.edu/bc_org/avp/soe/cihe/newsletter/Number51/p5_Kraince.htm

Egypt has had a long history of crushing any of the more academic, critical or liberal paths of Islam.

[/quote]

Without in any way wishing to defend Mubarak's government, of late Al-Azhar was seen as dangerously liberal by many Sunni Muslims under Tantawi (who recently passed away). And it seems likely the secular government will at least attempt to appoint someone in the Tantawi mold to replace him. Egypt is incredibly devout, but it is also an incredibly diverse place.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasr_Abu_Zayd

An anti-liberal period
The decision(against Zayd) was not isolated; it was made during a period of several assaults on liberal intellectuals and artists in the Muslim world in the 1990s. Dr. Ahmed Sohby Mansour was dismissed from Al-Azhar University and imprisoned for six months. This was based on a verdict reached by the university itself on the grounds that he rejected a fundamental tenet of Islam in his research of truth of some of Muhammad’s sayings, or Hadith. Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz was stabbed in the neck by an Islamist in 1994, leaving him incapable of using his hand to write. Egyptian courts were the theatre of different lawsuits brought against intellectuals, journalists, and university professors such as Atif al-Iraqi, Ragaa al-Naqash, Mahmoud al-Tohami, Youssef Chahine (for his film El-Mohager, The Emigrant).

In Kuwait in 1996, Ahmed Al-Baghdadi, a journalist and professor of political science, was jailed for one month for making offensive remarks about Muhammad. Laila Al-Othman and Dr. Aliya Shoeib, two of Kuwait’s top female authors, as well as publisher Yahiya Al-Rubayan, stood trial on November 10, 2000 for allegedly insulting Islam in their novels. They were convicted of indecent language and defamatory expressions, and sentenced to two months in prison for moral and religious offenses [1]. In Lebanon in 2003, Marcel Khalife, a well-known Lebanese singer, faced up to three years in jail after Beirut’s newly appointed chief investigating judge reopened a case that accused him of insulting Islam in 1996, and again in 1999, by singing a verse from the Qur’an in one of his songs (Ana yussef, I am Josef. He was found innocent. Marcel Khalife#Banishment from Tunisia.

The Egyptian courts had a problem with his criticisms of jizya and slave girls.

The diversity of any country will be limited as long as long as scholarship and scientific scrutiny of the religio-political foundations of the society cannot be exercised.

[quote="Darryl1958, post:4, topic:190755"]
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasr_Abu_Zayd

The Egyptian courts had a problem with his criticisms of jizya and slave girls.

The diversity of any country will be limited as long as long as scholarship and scientific scrutiny of the religio-political foundations of the society cannot be exercised.

[/quote]

I'm not very clear on what either of your posts have to do with the original post, BUT if you are so concerned about the lack of freedoms in Egypt, I would suggest that you tell the American government to use all that money it is spending to prop up the Mubarak dictatorship to push for some changes on those issues.

In any case, if you had read the story, you would see that the company that is going to fire the Egyptian journalists is non-Egyptian and its goals, under its current management, seem to be inimical to those of the Egyptian government.

forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=2940834&postcount=12

Since the Secular News forum is supposed to be about national and world news that is of interest to Catholics as Catholics, we would prefer that all news stories that are posted be at least tangentially related to Catholic doctrine or morals

What does this Islam Online crisis have to do with Catholic doctrine or morals?

If one can’t make, at the very least, a ‘tangential’ connexion between the freedoms for which these journalists are advocates and the freedoms that one would like to see extended throughout the Middle East, not only to Muslims, but also to non-Muslims, then one isn’t showing much imagination. These issues are all bound up in one another.

Why doesn’t “one” do that in “one’s” posting of “one’s” thread? :stuck_out_tongue:

Please explain the link to Catholic doctrine and morals.

[quote="Hypatia, post:5, topic:190755"]
I'm not very clear on what either of your posts have to do with the original post, BUT if you are so concerned about the lack of freedoms in Egypt, I would suggest that you tell the American government to use all that money it is spending to prop up the Mubarak dictatorship to push for some changes on those issues.

In any case, if you had read the story, you would see that the company that is going to fire the Egyptian journalists is non-Egyptian and its goals, under its current management, seem to be inimical to those of the Egyptian government.

[/quote]

Well, first the OP seems to be centered on the rise of Wahabi influence in Egypt, and how that is threatening freedoms there.

I assumed then that it would be appropriate to show some concern for the freedoms of Egypt, since the 'concern of the OP seemed to be directly connected to the issue of how conservative forces in Egypt were skewing the society onto an rather radical bent.
I never disagreed with this at all. In fact, in several of the threads on Islam that you have been starting, I have stressed the insidious influence that Salafi petro-dollars has been having in Islamic culture.

I also stress that the there is enough fertile grounds for this kind of illiberal influence in Egypt without Salafi influence. My two posts with links give the local and regional context of this.

Somehow,your reaction to idea that Egypt's problems with freedom are indigeneous too, and not all attributable to Wahabbi or American influence, is informative too. To paraphrase your own words, it doesn't take much imagination to note that heavy-handed court action in which a scholar is forced into divorce over his critique of Islam is already rather out of sync with the idea of intellectual freedom I the House Of Islam, even before Salafi influence arrives.

You seemed to be interested in the idea of freedom, so I offered my two cents, with the little bit of context that I knew.
I guess what I became more interested in is how your reaction to these outrages against freedom became defensive, according to whether the outrage was indigenous to Egypt or from the outside. One would think that if freedom was the main interest, the examples I pointed out would have created a meeting of the minds between us rather than the defensive posturing it did elicit.
..........

Mubarak is the leader because the radicals shot Sadat, the man with the audacity to make peace with Israel. America supports Mubarak as a condition of his maintaining that peace with Israel.

If Egyptians do not like this, Obama may well be their man. He is no Jew lover himself.

The question is who will be there to pick up the pieces, if Mubarak is ever abandoned or overthrown.......
the Wahabis,.... or the Iranians?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.