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EGYPT: Police arrest 155 for failing to keep Ramadan fast

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Egyptian newspapers and human rights activists announced that 155 people were detained by police forces in Aswan, southern Egypt, for publicly eating, drinking or smoking during daylight hours in the holy month of Ramadan.

Islam requires the faithful to adhere to a dawn to dusk fast during the lunar month of Ramadan.

However, many of those arrested said that the arrests were random. Some claimed they were actually fasting when they were rounded up by police. 

"I didn’t break my fast, I was just buying a bottle of juice for breakfast time when officers [took] me away," one of the detainees told Al Youm Al Sabee newspaper.

The Ministry of Interior declined to confirm or deny the reports. But earlier, a high-ranked security source told journalists that a campaign against those who refused to fast would be launched to maintain general order and decrease crime during the Muslim holy month.

The arrests were strongly condemned by human rights activists, who said that such detentions have no legal or religious legitimacy. 

"Every person should fast according to his will. Consideration for other fasters is just something we do out of courtesy but it's not an obligation," Gamal Eid of the Arabian Network for Human Rights, or ANHR, said.

According to some, the campaign contradicts the Ministry of Interior's general policy against the spread of extreme religious thinking. 

"I find it strange to believe that authorities are always chasing religious or jihadist groups while they are adopting a procedure like that," said Negad Al Borei, head of the Institution for Democracy Development.

Khaled Ali, executive manager of the Hesham Mubarak Law Centre for human rights, accused the Ministry of imposing religiosity on citizens. 

— Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Minister of Interior Habib El Adli. Credit: Al Youm Al Sabee

Comments () | Archives (13)

Now, on midnight mass 2010, 8 christians were shot in a drive by shooting, are you telling me that christians are not being persecuted. ARE YOU KIDDING ME, look on YOUTUBE watch the videos, " Egypt christians murdered" or " Egypt christian homes burned" Muslims are looking for any opurtunity to kill Christians. The muslim government upholds these actions as "fulfilling the koran in it's truest form..." Wake up everyone this is happening!!!

@ Mostafa Tawfic

What u stated is the "logical" case..... the "hypothetical" case for a democratic country. Egypt, the Middle East and the entire Muslim world in general are way off the democracy maps.

In Saudi Arabia, Mr Tawfic, people walk around with sticks and whips to PHYSICALLY PUNISH people who dont "go praying" when the prayer calls are heard. I never heard of any case of eating during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia probably because no one is stupid enough to lose their life over a snack, or a smoke outdoors, but I am sure nothing less than death or public flagellation would be the "Sharia"-legal punishment if this was to happen.

Egypt is following the Saudi example. No more. Egypt was, is and will never ever be a democracy. At best, Egypt has been officially a dictatorship/monarchy for the last 1400 years (since Muslim occupation) and a covert theocracy. Now Egypt is moving to be an overt theocracy only.

As for right or wrong news, ur personal opinion does not make the news false or wrong. Its merely ur own personal reflections, not facts.

As for the denial of Taliban support, may I remind u of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood? May I remind u of Ayman ElZawahiri? Taliban, Qaeda, Hamas, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Fatah and God only knows what else are the new unofficial political power that binds the "Arab world". Arabs failed to unite politically, so they united for terrorism and Islam.

Check the links in my reply to Abdelrahman, Shawkat Eltouny & Mohamed Elgohary.

All what is written in this article is 100% NOT true, Egypt is a democratic country...i am pretty sure that there are more to consider in Egypt than to arrest some people how are not fasting.. this even doesn't make sense because simply fasting is one of the muslim rituals, and this ritual is between the muslim and God and there is no third party involved and don't you think christians in egypt doesn't drink eat or smoke in public in Ramdan... which is something normal and no muslim would care .........ofcourse they do..and i think u can't differentiate between a muslim and a christian in egypt with looks ..

and to JIM ...egypt is following the french law, NOT that i am saying that the sharia law is wrong or right ... but simply we are not following and about the "unspoken agenda of taliban support" do you really think so?!! ....why would taliban support egypt..why would talban has anything to do with egypt...JIM before posting anything make sure and research what ever information you are going to share

@Abdelrahman, Shawkat Eltouny & Mohamed Elgohary

Denial wont make atrocities, persecutions and injustices go away. Denial wont make the world look any better at the increasingly worsening global view of Muslims and Islam. But if u wanna live this way, its ur "FREEDOM" to do so.

The pigs cull and now this are just the latest in a 1400 year-long history of persecution of Egyptian Christians.

Check this:
http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/ws/ar/thread.jspa?sortBy=1&forumID=9816&start=30&tstart=0#paginator

and this

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/09/09/84391.html

and this

http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090910/FOREIGN/709099831/1011/NEWS

and this

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/sep/13/egypt-ramadan-crack-down

Mr. Hassan, you have unfortunately published a hoax. The arrests had nothing to do with fasting (did it even make sense to you given the Egyptian authorities policy?). Please do some research and correct your story.

@jim carr: you clearly have no idea what you are talking about - this has nothing to do with the taliban.

I seriously doubt that this piece of news is accurate.

egypt is drifting into sharia law and has an unspoken agenda of taliban support-the whole world should send them the message that this kind of ridgid thinking and theocratic enforcment perhaps directed against people of other religions is not acceptable if they are a democracy

When religion becomes part of the law of the country freedom has become a lost concept.

@Viviane: All what you care is tourists? And Egyptians can go to hell? Those detainees are Muslims for God's sake.

It is not about being religious, it is about police officers get much appreciation when people they arrest increase, the more detainees the more appreciation they get, financially and in titles. This is the main reason why police officers invent reasons every day for more arrests.

Please Muslims and Christians: Stop idiotic sectarian fuss.

It is strange that you don't bother to look into all the facts. Bikya - on Google News and first to publish this story last week - has updated stating the ministry has denied arresting people for "not fasting." Here are links:

http://bit.ly/2MbmqY
http://bit.ly/gPQz9

After you misleading and simply wrong coverage of Randall's case, it makes us wonder. You are better than this.

This story is a hoax. Amro Hassan needs to do better research. What he wrote is not what happened. It was a false rumor.

If this can happen in a place like Egypt, that is relatively liberal in its interpretation of Islam, what must it be like in the other Islamic countries? How can you negotiate with people who think like that?

what a pity, Egypt is going backwards instead of forward in every way .... it is a disgrace to see that in almost 2010 dictature is still applicable .
As for the pigs that were slawghtered what a shame... this was definately something done not for fear of an epidemic since the swine flue is transmitted from person to person and not through pigs, this was an act of deliberate religious purpuses agains christians as we well know the zabbaleen are all christians... well if the swine flue does not kill the population the dirt and deseases from all the garbage left behind will. Don't expect tourists to be happy about that.


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