Friday November 4, 2005
Egyptian blogger arrested
CAIRO, Egypt: Egyptian police have detained a blogger for his anti-Islamic and anti-government writings and confiscated his books and copies of his articles, his family and other bloggers said Thursday.
Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman, a 21-year-old law student at Al-Azhar University, was arrested on Oct. 26. His whereabouts are not known.
"A group of seven police officers knocked at the door at 3 a.m. and asked about Abdolkarim,'' his mother, who identified herself as Yousseria, told The Associated Press by telephone from Alexandria.
She said the police searched the house, confiscated Seliman books and copies of his articles, which he posts to his blog.
"Since then, I didn't see him,'' she said, adding that his brother learned from police that Seliman was taken to a detention cell on Wednesday.
Police declined to comment when asked about Seliman's detention.
"He is stubborn, he has ideas that contradict the true religion and he posts that on the Internet, serving no one but himself,'' his mother said when asked about his writings.
Seliman belongs to a pious Muslim family - his parents were performing umra, or a minor Islamic pilgrimage, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, just days before his arrest.
He is also a student of Al-Azhar, the world's highest seat of learning for Sunni Muslims.
Another blogger, Malik Moustafa, closely followed Seliman's detention and accused followers of the fundamentalist Islamic Salafi movement in Alexandria of being behind the arrest.
Moustafa said the arrest followed articles in which Seliman accused the Salafis of inciting the latest sectarian tensions in his neighborhood of Mouharm Bay.
Seliman was detained three days after posting an article to his blog commenting on the violent riots that erupted when thousands of security forces clashed with streams of angry Muslim worshippers in front of a Coptic Christian church over a play put on by Christians deemed offensive to Islam.
The play had gone unnoticed when it was first performed at St. George's two years ago.
Though it has not been performed recently, it caught Muslims' attention when, according to security officials, Islamic extremists may have been distributing DVDs.
Titled "The Naked Truth of Islam as I saw it in Mouharm Bay,'' Seliman said of the riots: "Muslims revealed their true ugly face, and appeared to all the world that they are at full of brutality, barbarism and inhumanity.''
In addition to his anti-Islamic writings, Seliman posted several articles blatantly attacking Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak regime and describing it as a "symbol of dictatorship.''
It is the first security crackdown on an Egyptian blogger, a growing community that has flourished in Egypt over the last couple of years. - AP