Egypt campaigns against atheism
The summary for this article, originally written by Ahmed Fouad in Arabic, goes like this.
The Egyptian government begins a new program to combat the rise of atheism; however, activists question whether this increase is even real.Nevermind for now why the government sees atheism as something to be campaigned against. It's the usual destruction of civilization(!) stuff you hear from theocratic regimes. I was interested in the perceived causes of this supposed increase in atheism. I say supposed because one of the primary criticisms of this article is whether there are millions or thousands of atheists in the country. It seems like nobody knows -- for the obvious reason that who but the bravest of soul come out in a government that's constitutionally Islamic and out to fight atheism.
Pastor Abdul Massih Bassit, who is concerned about atheism, told Al-Monitor: “There are no statistics and each part of society randomly estimates the size of the phenomenon. Atheists estimate their own number on their Facebook pages at between 2 [million] and 4 million Egyptians, while certain pastors say that their number is not more than 1,000-2,000.”According to Nuamat Sati, who is in charge of the campaign at the Ministry of Youth, estimates are based on a single TV show! No, really!
Sati said, “Both the ministries of awqaf and youth have based their estimations on a TV show in which atheists have a significant representation, in addition to Facebook and Twitter accounts where the number of followers have largely increased, which means that they are now publicly announcing their atheism.” Yet, her statement is not necessarily accurate evidence of the spread of atheism, but it could simply mean that atheists are more courageous or outspoken today.Although some blame the January 25th revolution in Egypt for disillusioning the youth, Sati thinks it's that nasty Internet exposing youth to ideas 'they are not ready for.'
Sati said that she does not directly connect the spread of atheism with the January 25 Revolution. Yet, she linked it to the use of social media networks and the Internet after the revolution, which allowed the youth to connect with new cultures they were not yet ready to deal with. “This is in addition to the fact that the January 25 Revolution broke the fear barrier for youth, which led atheists to publicly announce themselves on television and social media networks,” she said.Thank goodness for the nanny state telling everyone how they ought to think.
Naturally, people emboldened enough to publicly share their atheism -- you know, human rights(!) -- simply will not do in Egypt. I cannot help but add: where's the Canadian Office of Religious Freedom to stand up for these people now? -- I keep asking... I keep asking...
“The campaign has two goals,” Sati told Al-Monitor, “The first is to spread awareness concerning the dangers of atheism and how it creates a threat to society, as well as the controversial issues that might push the youth to atheism. The second is to treat this phenomenon by having a dialogue with atheists and giving them a chance to reconsider their decisions and go back to their religion.”I would be interested to know what they believe these dangers of atheism are and how it creates a threat to society. Unfortunately, this is assumed to be known by all readers of the story.
Clergy, psychologists and social experts will train the youth and try to find answers to questions raised by youth which might push them to atheism.Meaning they do not have answers to these questions already? After all this time? Should they not be constantly asking these questions? I wonder how many of these experts, in all their searching, might themselves discover they no longer belief it themselves.
Like the situation in the US and Canada, it's not certain how many people are atheists due to the fear of being oppressed by government and society. I'm pretty sure things are much rougher in Egypt. Just take a look at Alber Saber's plight.