May 29, 2011

If you ever wondered where sectarian tension comes from..

Check-out this website:

I would like to find a way to report this website and make sure that this sort of hate speech is not accepted. If you have ideas let me know. 

Here are links to some articles in Arabic:

Destruction of churches

On not participating with Christians in their religious celebrations

On dealing with Christians, second class citizens

Describing Christians and Jews as infidels

On not befriending Christians and Jews and considering them infidels


  1. I tend to disagree about shutting down such websites. Would shutting them down resolve the problem? Would more then 6,000 participants on such website change their mentality by then? Do you know how many well educated people replaced their facebook profile image with Ben Laden's?
    I think the best cure for this fester is to expose it to sun and air. Let them speak out and let's expose them to the public. Salafis and Ikhwan over the last couple of months have lost a lot of their grounds, simply because they were given the chance to speak and act freely.
    Look how pathetic and disgusting someone like Sobhy Saleh was on TV last night. The man is his own worst enemy. The more they speak out, the more they dismantle their long established image as martyrs and oppressed.
    I think our main effort is to bring to light their tricky games, racist mentality, distorted thinking and hypocritical practices. So, reporting such websites to me is not about shutting them down, but to report them to the maximum number of audience. It is only through self-criticism, exposure and change from within we can change such distorted mentalities. And believe me, this process started to happen even in the poorest areas where people slowly come to realize that Egypt is not about Salafis or Ikhwan or the ignorant Sheikhs preaching them every Friday. This discourse doesn't feed them by the end of the month, nor pay their bills.
    I believe that our role would be to identify, hunt down and expose such distorted discourse, and believe me, the more we dig deeper we'll find much worse than that. Cheers.

  2. Even though I agree with the basic principal of exposing such way of thinking, hate speech is forbidden in many countries. By prosecuting hate speech you will end up sending its promoters under ground, this will 1) limit their influence and 2) take away from their legitimacy. I believe that people who incite violence, discrimination, racism, sectarianism, etc.. should be stopped and treated as criminals.

  3. But wasn't this the case? Weren't these entities already underground and illegitimate during Mubarak times? The result was this fester.
    Theocratic movements feed over this world of secrecy. The best therapy for them is to expose them to the light, and make them practice real life politics. People need to listen to them talk and see them practice. Only then people realize how shallow these movements are. To a greater extent, this also makes their discourse more modest and their aspirations about a religious state more realistic and secular.
    Remember what happened when the government shut down Mohamed Hassan's al-Ra7ma channel. The guy was depicted as a martyr despite the bullshit he was trowing everyday.
    Prosecuting hate speech works in many countries because they have a long established legacy of condemning such acts. No one sympathizes with Nazis for instance. This was inherited in the 1948 German Constitution based on a long history of violence and a real understanding of how authoritarian paradigms can destroy democracy from within. It took the Germans more then 12 years to reach this point and build real consensus around it in their constitution where hate speech and attempts to destroy democracy is prohibited by the German Law. This would've been impossible in the 1930s or early 1940s.
    I believe we have to start our long journey too. Last Friday was a first step to realize that a civil state is possible by the power of the people. Shutting down these websites, satellite TV stations (which are much much worse) and stupid Friday preaches before building a consensus among the majority that such hate speech and outdated discourse is leading us nowhere but hell, would be counterproductive. I can see that you have a good sense of the street, and maybe you know more than me what 40 years of manipulating religion for political reasons has done to our people. Doesn't this call for a long-term sustainable effort to reverse this decline?

  4. I don't believe that these entities were "really" illegitimate and underground. They were left somewhere in the middle and were never addressed from the point of view of their infringement on civility of our country. They were left to spread their ideas but not their political presence. Creating sectarian tension and divide between Egyptians was one of the regime's most favored tools. Hate speech in Egypt was never incriminated, to the extent that even hate actions were not (out of 52 sectarian attacks in the past years, zero went to court), this was a government policy. Leaving such entities free to spread their ideologies without incrimination is a huge risk as they will continue to use sectarian tension as their last resort when they fail in the political arena. I believe that anyone who uses such speech should be incriminated, while we work with Azhar and the civil society on education. But I believe one can not happen without the other. It is a crime as far as I'm concerned and it should be punished.

  5. I agree with your point that these entities were left to work in a quasi-official mode of operation. Salafis for example were used to undermine Ikhwan's popularity in the street.
    But this kind of discourse is a crime in your point of view, mine too, but not in the eyes of many others. Incrimination is an action based on a moral or physical act condemned by the society, then turned into a governing rule through constitutions and laws. And here is my point, as you said, 52 sectarian attacks and zero went to court. In this case, I mutually blame both the oppressor and the victim for letting it go.
    I had a long experience with rule of law, and I come to a conclusion that laws should be based on ethical order mutually agreed in the society, implanted in the collective mind and moral system, and primarily stem from a real convention that such acts are criminal; then laws put this into action and give these ethics their institutional manifestation. A similar example when the court criminalized 'al-Islam howa al-7al' slogan, it did nothing in the end.
    In situations where rule of law is absent, with putting together laws criminalizing such acts, a parallel and harder effort must take place to change the mentality of the people. But I think we at least share a point of criminalizing such acts, which is a good start.