“Free speech” has an entirely different meaning in Egypt.
Earlier this week, Morris Sadek, a Christian lawyer living in the United States, was stripped of his Egyptian citizenship and banned from entering Egypt. According to the lawyer handling the case against him, Sadek is guilty of insulting Islam, supporting Judaism and “calling for the killing of Arabs.” Additionally, the Egyptian court is upset over his call for the United States and Israel to get involved in the nation’s internal affairs.
Sadek says he won’t appeal the decision, but that the incident will show the world the role that Islamists play in Egypt’s judicial system. So, in the post-Mubarak world, this case begs the question: Are things really changing for the better?
The move against Sadek coincides with increased violence against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, including the torching of churches.
While the military council has been quick and firm in subjecting women to virginity checks and bringing peaceful demonstrators before military tribunals, it has shown incompetence in dealing with anti-Christian violence.
Those who were hoping that Egypt would enjoy a free media in the post-Mubarak era were reminded last week that that the situation under the military council has not changed dramatically.
With actions like this, it’s easy to question how the landscape will change, if at all, following Mubarak’s exit. In the end, Sadek’s case illustrates that freedom of speech is a theoretical construct yet to be practiced in Egypt.