The Egyptian government has been funny, what with them knowing precisely how many atheists there are in the country or attempting to ban televised belly dancing competitions. It's because recently the rhetoric has been ramping way up against atheists, who have been identified multiple times as the greatest challenge to Egyptian society which must be stamped out.
Well, the saber rattling seems to have given way to action this week. Cairo police raided and shut down an atheist cafe.
Egyptian security forces have stormed what they described as the "atheists' cafe" in downtown Cairo, raising fears of a renewed crackdown on freedom of expression in the country.None of the authorities responsible were able to explain why people who do not believe in supernatural deities would ever be worshiping the devil -- having rituals and wild dancing apparently!
The popular cafe, located in the capital's Abdeen neighbourhood, was a nest for "Satan worshippers", according to Gamal Mohie, chief of the local municipality.
"There was no sign reading 'atheists' cafe' outside, as nobody would put up such a public announcement. However, it was popularly known as a place for Satan worship, rituals and dances. There were also Satanic drawings at the entrance," Mohie said, adding that the owner was arrested during the raid.Right. If these pictures are any indication, it looks like there were Nazi swastikas drawn by someone outside of the entrance. These police are either very confused or are just looking for any excuse to either oppress potential political opposition or to cause a diversion from their own performance.
A story over at Morocco World News describes the situation further.
Egypti’s Youm7 quoted the head of Hay Al Abidin Jamal Mohi as saying that the café was located on Avenue Al Falaki in downtown Cario, and “it was a resort for atheists and Satanists who were spreading wrong ideas about religion.”Atheist activist Ayman Ramzy sees this all as a political ploy to divert Egyptians from meaningful questions of government policy.
Jamal Mohi went on to add that local authorities decided to destroy the café after they received many requests from residents who live the café.
“Residents said that each midnight, atheists and Satanists in the café would start performing sort of satanic rituals,” he explained.
Mohi also revealed that the local authorities destroyed the café amid local women’s ululations of joy.
Ramzy went on to add that local authorities should worry about the critical issues that Egypt is facing, such as the growing number of homeless children, rather than violating the individual freedoms of Egyptian citizens.Just recently a French journalist and friends were detained and interrogated in a Cairo cafe for discussing politics after a woman overheard their conversation and contacted the police.
It seems to me that things are getting progressively worse for freedom of expression in Egypt for atheists and anyone who may have an opinion at odds with the official State sanctioned status quo.