Egypt: Atheists Are Considered “Threats to National Security” or “Carriers of a Dangerously Contagious Virus”

Alber Saber, an Egyptian atheist who was arrested for his public non-belief. Image: Friendly Atheist
Mona Eltahawy has an important and eye-opening opinion piece in tomorrow’s international edition of the New York Times (online today) all about the persecution of atheists in Egypt.

By Terry Firma|Friendly Atheist

The people she writes about — like Karim al-Banna and Alber Saber — are familiar names to readers of this site, as is the ridiculous report about how there are exactly 866 atheists in a country of more than 80 million people:

Atheists are described alternately as threats to national security or as carriers of a dangerously contagious virus.

In this atmosphere, it’s impossible to gauge people’s candid views on religion. For those who don’t genuflect to the official order, a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in Egypt long provided cover. But to admit atheism is to invite not just arrest but a threat to one’s life.

There’s reason for optimism near the end of the piece:

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