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Islam and Tolerance ( 2 May 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Mona Prince: Latest Victim of Salafist Intolerance in Egypt


New Age Islam Edit Desk

May 2, 2013

Islam’s message of religious tolerance has been the greatest victim in post revolution Egypt. Although it was supposed that Muslim Brotherhood which claims to follow Islamic teachings and ideals will usher Egypt in an age of liberal values and religious tolerance because Islam guarantees religious and human rights and the Quran favours interfaith dialogue in the best possible way. But unfortunately it was the other way round. Religious intolerance, communal hatred, oppression of minorities and dishonor shown to women has been the hallmark of the MB-led government.

Many liberal and moderate thinkers, religious and cultural personalities have been harassed and victimized by Muslim Brotherhood and the Morsi government for raising their voice against all kinds of intolerance and rigidity in political and religious attitude.

Earlier Sheikh Mazhar Shahin, the imam of Omar Makram Mosque who is famous for leading the prayers at Tahrir Square during the protests was suspended by the government for criticizing the Morsi government for monopolising state institutions. Later Egypt’s administrative disciplinary court halted the suspension order.

Another victim of Muslim Brotherhood’s intolerant attitude is the famous Egyptian TV host, anchor and comedian Bassem Youssef who criticized President Morsi in every episode of his comic programme. The programme was a big hit with the Egyptian audience as it provided the much needed comic relief to the stressed public of the country that went through a violent revolution recently. But he was dragged to court by the Morsi government and the Muslim Brotherhood accused him of insulting Islam, the final weapon of the Islamists everywhere to silence political and religious opponents. Finally, Bassem Youssef decided to suspend his show for the time being. However, there are rumours that Muslim Brotherhood’s back door pressures forced the programme to close down.

The latest victim of religious intolerance in Egypt is Mona Prince, a renowned writer and novelist and a professor at the Faculty of Education at the Suez Canal University of Egypt. She was accused by students affiliated to Muslim Brotherhood of contempt of religion. All she did was while discussing sectarianism in the context of the ongoing sectarian strife in Egypt with the students; she criticized sectarianism promoted by the Salafists. The topic was agreed on by Mona Prince and the students and while discussing the topic she showed the students a poster put up by the Salafi students on the university walls saying, ‘Shias are enemy’ and said that this was what we call sectarianism. But after the class some students filed a complaint against Mona Prince to the Dean of the faculty accusing her of defaming Islam. An investigation was ordered against her and she was told not come to the university as there was threat to her life. Mona said that she received death threats from Salafists. However, later the University authorities allowed her to resume her duties.

Mona says that she did not say anything against Islam and only criticized the religious intolerance of a section of Muslims as they promoted sectarianism and spread hatred against other sects of Islam which was against the teachings and tenets of Islam. But she was threatened and harassed. 

Human rights groups have condemned the harassment of the professor calling it intellectual terrorism and demanded that the administration create an atmosphere where intellectuals, scholars and professors can express their views freely and fearlessly.