Journalist Magdy Samaan tells Kareem’s story in his latest article for the Daily Star Egypt:
CAIRO: Without a personal computer and through Internet cafés, 22-year-old Al-Azhar University student Abdel Kareem Nabil Soliman, known as Kareem Amer, created a blog under the name “Kareem Amer.” The blog focused on criticizing Islam, Al-Azhar education and the President.
During sectarian strife in Alexandria he supported the Copts.
But being unconventionally outspoken in a conservative society had its repercussions, especially that he was a student in the top Islamic educational institution.
While Amer accuses the prison administration of intentionally targeting him – he was put in solitary detention 65 days before being moved to the political prisoners’ section then to criminal – he says his relations with the fellow inmates are fine. “I avoid any theological discussion because it won’t lead anywhere.”
Amer enjoys the support of many international organizations and movements such as Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch. A number of activists and bloggers have initiated the “Free Kareem” campaign, whereby they organize demonstrations in front of Egyptian embassies around the world and gather signatures on petitions calling for his release.
Amer didn’t garner the same level of support on a local level.
“Solidarity with Kareem is the basic solidarity with freedom of expression – a right granted for all regardless whether you agree or disagree with their ideas,” said Taha, who’s currently appealing a prison sentence she received for making a documentary about police torture in Egypt.
Negm conveyed, however, Egyptian bloggers’ support to Amer.
“Although I disagree with Kareem regarding his ideology and the means of expression but I think that the only response to opinions are opinions not oppression and limiting freedoms,” Negm said.
“I don’t have a problem with Kareem criticizing my faith, because it isn’t weak faith,” she added. “I think the main reason for imprisoning him is attacking the President. If the government penalizes religious contempt why would it allow websites that express contempt of Christianity? Isn’t Christianity also a religion?”
Read the full article here.