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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

كريم عامر

"It is in Al-Azhar's interest to have female students treated in this humiliating manner, in which we do not even treat our animals."
This was written by Abdul Kareem Nabeel Suleiman, a.k.a. Kareem Amer, on his Arabic-language blog in 2004, part of an essay entitled "Al-Azhar University and its Apartheid Policy between Male and Female Students." Suleiman was a law student, studying Islamic jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, in Alexandria. Al-Azhar is the most prestigious institution of Sunni theology, and plays a major role in pushing the Islamist political agenda in Egypt.
After a widely publicised trial, where he was charged with insulting Islam and the Egyptian presidency, Suleiman was sentanced to four years in prison last Febuary.

It takes a level of determination, conviction, and bravery that I can only hope to imagine, for an individual to speak this sort of truth in the face of such coercive power.

I recommend reading Ben Lynfield's article in the April 2 issue of The Jerusalem Report (unfortunately, and unbelievably, only available in print), as well as signing any number of the petitions organised by the dedicated journalists, activists, and bloggers of www.freekareem.org.

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