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EGYPT: Fatwa issued against secular author


The Egyptian Islamic Legislation Authority has declared writer and researcher Sayed Kemny a criminal and an infidel, saying he doubts and has repudiated Islam.

The fatwa, which comes nearly a month after the author was granted Egypt's 2009 State Incentive Prize in sociology, was issued last week in a response to a letter sent to the Islamic Legislation Authority inquiring about the religious consequences for someone who denounces Islam in his books.

The authority found that Kemny's writings violated Egyptian law and made him an infidel.  The authority added that the writer never should have been awarded the Incentive Prize.

"Our muftis are fully aware of the ongoing saga around Al Kemny and the prize. We already know the writer's documented opinions and the fatwa was issued in consistence with our knowledge of the current conflict and Al Kemny himself," Sheikh Gamal Kotb, head of the authority's Fatwa Committee told Al Dustour newspaper.

Kemny has long been known for his secular views, as well as his strong calls for abandoning Islamic law (Sharia) as a basis for the country's legislation. While religious pundits hailed the authority's fatwa, moderate observers opposed the unprecedented attack. The Islamic Legislation Authority has never before issued a fatwa stating that a particular writer is a criminal and infidel.

Many Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, criticized Farouk Hosny, the Egyptian cultural minister, for awarding Kemny the prize, as they believed that someone who disrespected Islam and doubted its teachings in his writings should never have received such an honor. Hosny is head of the Higher Council for Culture, whose members annually select Incentive Prize winners.

 -- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa. Credit: BBC

Comments () | Archives (7)

So Ahmed, in short your are defending the decision and non-existance of freedom of speech in Egypt then? There should not be "but". It is either wrong or right and clearly you seem to support them.

This case is not new. Egypt is previously executed people for blasphemy, declared muslims apostates for the critical analysis of Islam, put bloggers in jail for critisizing the government and religious interpretation.

The same pattern is found in other muslim countries.

In response to some comments, please notice that eligible Islamic bodies/scholars, similar to court judges with other laws, are trusted to be fully aware of Islamic law and hence are consulted in many muslim coutries by court judges on the extent to which an action voilates the Islamic Law. On the other hand, Islam does NOT give people the right to judge the faith of others. On the contrary, prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when informed about such an action said in disagreement: "had you opened his chest?". Actions, however, may be judged by elegible muslim bodies to examine thier accordance with islamic law (sharia) just like a law court examines a citizen's action to decide if it is legal, crime, or treason. A person associated with a violating action is then informed of his/her violation, proviede with proof of the illegitimacy of the action and given a chance to repent. If unsuccessful the person is to see a court judge who is to make the final decision. Finally, let me ask you a question. If someone for instance declares his disbelieve in the existence of God what would you say about him. Now, how to deal with him is another issue.

Obviously the freedom of expression does not go too far in Egypt. It is very onfortunate that in this day and age and in the land where civilization first blossomed that we still witness this kind of persecution. Mr. Kemny has every right to question the Islamic tradition and its role in law and politics. He is entitled to his opinion. Repudiating Islam or any other religion should never be treated as a crime in any civilized society.

Omar, you lost me at: "ICKYhwanweb is the Mohammedan Brotherhoodlum"s yadda yadda yadda." No one needs to go to a propagandist's site to see what the mohammedan death cult is about. It is quite OBVIOUS in the daily reports from around the world what kind of cult practices are done in the name of your moon-god fairy and his false prophet. P*ss off.

if life was fair those who issued this fatwa should be sentenced for giving themselves the right to judge someone's faith. Islam gives the right to people to judge each other, that's why an ignorant sheikh is stronger than a scholar because any rival can be simply named an infidel. islam is fundamentaly wrong to give people the right to judge each other, by this it is placing ordinary people in place of God?!! Islamists from a very narrow point of view see the world and they expect everybody else to see it the same way or else they are considered 'infidels'. I dare you to post my comment.

I am a big fan of Mr Sayed Kemny. The man is a true scientist and is not secular. The reality is that islamists have been attacked from different directions and were never able to adabt, they are now showing their real face by judging peoples faith! Only God can decide if someone is infidel or not you islamists believe in a very week god who cannot defend himself maybe you are the infidels for distrusting Almighty God's abilities.

Hello I would like to invite you to visit our website :

IKhwanweb is the Muslim Brotherhood"s only official English web site. The Main office is located in London, although Ikhwanweb has correspondents in most countries. Our staff is exclusively made of volunteers and stretched over the five continents.
The Muslim Brotherhood opinions and views can be found under the sections of MB statements and MB opinions, in addition to the Editorial Message.
Items posted under "other views" are usually different from these of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ikhwanweb does not censor any articles or comments but has the right only to remove any inappropriate words that defy public taste
Ikhwanweb is not a news website, although we report news that matter to the Muslim Brotherhood"s cause. Our main misson is to present the Muslim Brotherhood vision right from the source and rebut misonceptions about the movement in western societies. We value debate on the issues and we welcome constructive criticism.

to help inform you about your subject matter,questions

If you have any addition questions you can email us at :


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