Muslims Against Sharia
Since President Anwar Sadat's murder (6/10/1981) emergency laws have been in force in Egypt. These laws strongly reduce individual freedom and civil rights. This measure has been adopted mainly in order to oppose the threat presented by The Muslim Brotherhood. The movement is officially outlawed; nevertheless it won 20% of the seats (88 of 454) in the last parliamentary elections on a personal basis. Article number 2 of 1971's constitution establishes Shari'a as the main source of law. Shari'a provides the legal basis for death sentences: execution, by shooting or hanging, it doesn't apply to young people under 18. Freedom of association and expression are strongly limited. "Opinion crimes" are usually veiled by accusations such as offence to the President, or to Islam, and diffusion of false and slanted information. Last year the regime hardened its line against political opponents through arrests and trials, not only against the Muslim Brotherhood, but also against bloggers and editors of independent newspapers and magazines. Blogger Abdul Kareem Nabeel Suleiman (known as Kareem Amer) has been expelled from Al-Azhar University and then, on February 22nd 2007, sentenced to 4 years in prison (1 year on the accusation of defaming the president, 3 for defamation of Islam). It has been recently reported that Kareem was tortured when in prison. One of the paradoxes of the international community is that Egypt will host in 2009 the third meeting of Internet Governance Forum, an organ of the United Nations whose motto is: "Internet should be accessible, usable and safe". Meanwhile, Egypt is one of 13 countries considered "internet enemies" according to a report of "Reporters without borders".
Seven journalists have been recently sentenced to a year of reclusion with the accusation of slander against high members of Mubarak's National-Democratic party (NDP). One of them, Ibrahim Eissa, editor of independent newspaper Al-Dostour, is still under trial accused of having diffused false information concerning Mubarak's precarious health condition. Following these cases, great Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, the highest theological authority of Sunni Islam, proclaimed a fatwa according to which slanderers will be condemned to 80 lashes. One more alarm about the worsening of human rights in Egypt comes from Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a sociologist and well-known human rights activist, who has already served several months in egyptian prisons. Ibrahim has now been overseas for 6 months and can't return to Egypt, where his physical integrity would be in great danger. He is accused of having convinced the American administration to suspend funding to Egypt until respect of democracy is guaranteed. Because of his deeds, he is accused of betrayal and damage of national economic interest. The same ploy (i.e. private charges presented by pro-government individuals against human rights activists) has been used against Ayman Nour, liberal candidate to the presidential elections of 2005, who has been accused by dozens of private individuals and condemned to 5 years of prison. President Mubarak's (79 years old, in power since 1981) scarce tolerance towards any criticism is very likely due to maneuvers that are being operated to guarantee automatic succession in power to his son Gamal (44 years old).The Egyptian regime didn't show any mercy even towards refugees coming from African countries, especially Sudan. Darfur refugees - fleeing genocide - pass through Egypt in their attempt to reach countries that can guarantee them some protection. At the Israeli-Egyptian border, that many cross illegally hoping to find shelter in Israel, some cases of murder of refugees, executed by Egyptian authorities, have been reported. The last case happened in November, when Egyptian border police shot and killed an Eritrean woman. The worst violation of refugees' rights occurred in December 2005, when 27 of them were killed by police during a demonstration in which they asked to receive a better treatment by Egyptian authorities.Female genital mutilations (FGM) are largely diffused in Egypt (97% of women in reproductive age, according to UNICEF data). This practice is not to be reconnected to an Islamic rite, but rather to ancient tribal customs. Despite the fact that both the Egyptian government and the religious authorities oppose FGM, the current prohibition hasn't yet been converted in a law. Religious minorities demand to be recognized the same civil rights as the Sunni Muslim majority.Copts, the native Egyptians, belong mostly to the Copt Orthodox Church; they represent the biggest minority (10-14% of population), persecuted and discriminated for centuries. About 2000 believers of the Bahà'ì faith are strongly discriminated against because their religion is not recognized by the government. Moreover, those who abandon Islam to convert to other religions, go through persecutions that can even result in imprisonment.