Egyptian blogger Abdul Kareem Nabeel Suleiman Amer also known as Kareem Amer was sentenced to four years in prison; three for insulting "God" and one for insulting "the Egyptian President". Amer should have been released last week after serving the full duration of his jail time but until today, he is still in custody. On the same day that Amer was expected to be released, Palestinian blogger Waleed Al Husseini has been detained by the Palestinian authorities for creating a facebook page named "Allah"! it was reported and shut down and Waleed created this page, that page, and that page to fight those who keep censoring his thoughts.
Waleed Khalid Hasayen is a 26 year old blogger who was arrested in the West Bank city of Qalqilya by the Palestinian authorities on the grounds of religious contempt and promoting atheism. On his blog "Nour Al Akl" or The enlightened Mind, he refuted all religious arguments – specially Islam – and he wrote long detailed posts on the fallacy of religions. In the beginning of Summer 2010, a facebook page titled "Allah" was created by an anonymous user. The creator of the page used his excellent command of the Arabic language and composed poetic stanzas that mimic Qura'anic verses. The page attracted many fans; there were those who liked the creativity of the author, those who were offended and joined to defend their religion, and those who were merely curious.
There were many speculations about the identity of the page creator until earlier this week when Waleed got arrested. A facebook group dedicated to his defense has been created; the admins of the group are reaching out to the international community and human rights activists. They also created a petition demanding the freedom of the detained blogger.
On his profile on blogger, Waleed wrote the following:
يا أعزائي انا أحاول أن أكتشف الحقيقة, لا أن أحرف الحقيقة لكي تكون في صالحي, علينا أن نكون صريحين مع أنفسنا قبل أن نجاوب على تلك الأسئلة, نحن لسنا في حرب ولسنا طرفين يتنازعان والبقاء للأقوى.. اذا استطاع احد ما أن يبين أن منهجي خاطئ فلن أحاول ان اكذبه بأساليب تافهة, ولن أحاول أن اتلاعب بالكلمات لكي اثبت وجهة نظري, ففي النهاية نحن نسعى وراء نفس الهدف انا لست عدواً للمسلمين ولا للإسلام, ولكني في عبارة أصح, لست أعز صديق لهم, هجومي على الإسلام لا يعني انني حاقد عليه, ولكني ببساطة اصابني اليأس من رؤية العالم ينهار بسبب الأديان, والمفارقة العجيبة انه عندما تسأل شيخاً مسلماً عن اسباب انهيار اوضاعنا سيجيبك وبكل ثقة : انه بسبب البعد عن الله يا بني لذلك عزيزي المؤمن, عليك بإستخدام عقلك وعدم الإتكال على من يحرف لك المعاني ليرضيك, ولا أعتقد انك سترضى بحقيقة مشوهة ومحرفة تحريفاً واضحاً, واتمنى ان تكون من النوعية التي تبحث عن الحق, ولست من النوعية التي تبحث فقط عما يؤيد ما تعتقد انه الحق
My dear visitors, I am seeking the truth. In my writings, I am not trying to twist facts to the favor of my arguments. I am just posing questions that many of us do not dare to ask and I urge you to be honest with yourselves while attempting to find the answers. We are not two parties at war against one another. We will not be dragged into a futile attempt to prove who is the fittest by discrediting each other. If someone can refute my arguments and prove the fallacy of my logic, I will listen and respond rationally. I will not mock his opinions or manipulate words to prove my points. I am not an enemy of Islam or Muslims; after all, we are all seeking the same thing – the truth. To be more precise, I know I am not the Muslim's best friend. I am not against Islam in particular, I am just a human being who is tired of watching the world collapse around us because of religions and religious strifes. It is ironic how Islamic scholars contribute such wars and destruction to the lack of faith. My dear believer, I urge you to use the brains you were given to seek your own truth instead of lazily relying on the misleading pacifying translations and interpretations of others. I have faith in you! I know you will not settle for fake half truths that were clearly manipulated to serve the best interest of those who promote them. I hope you are a truth seeker not just someone who is looking for a validation for what he believes to be the truth.
Back to Waleed's crime. Yes, Waleed is an atheist! Yes, Waleed promotes his ideas on his blog! Yes, Waleed created a facebook page speaking in the name of God! Yes, Waleed posted Quran-like verses on his page! But wait! let me remind you how facebook pages work. First of all, you have to "LIKE" a page to be able to join it. Second, links and posts from the pages you "LIKE" do not automatically appear on your news feed; you have to frequent this page several times a day for a long period of time to see its feed regularly on you home page. As for the blog, you have to type the blog address in your browser to be directed to its pages, or you have to search for it – or for a related topic – to have it pop up in your search results.
My point is: YOU go to the blog! YOU go to the facebook page! YOU choose to read! YOU choose to join! YOU choose to expose yourself to what Waleed has to say!
Waleed did not record his ideas on tapes and force you to listen to them in public transportation! Waleed did not buy himself dedicated segments on TV and force you to hear him out! Waleed did not eavesdrop on a conversation you were having with a friend and barge in with his ideologies. Waleed did not stop you in the street for wearing a veil or for having a beard and force-feed you his arguments. Waleed did not harass you at home or on the streets because you are different! Waleed did not get on a pulpit and preach violence against you! Waleed just sat in front of a computer screen and jotted down his thoughts. He is a thinker not a criminal!
Why are you afraid of him? Is your faith that fragile? Are your religious beliefs that vulnerable? Are you that weak? Who are you to censor another human being's thoughts? He is free to think and write just as much as you are free to adopt different ideologies. Like you, Waleed was born with a right to choose! Like you, Waleed was born with the right to freedom of expression! God – the God you believe in – gave us all the right to choose and He is the only one to judge us! I am sure that God is ashamed of his own creation! It's a tale as old as time … the allegorical story of Cain and Abel! Man judging Man! Man killing Man! Man censoring Man! Man muzzling Man! Man silencing Man!
I met Waleed in person once or twice and there was nothing offensive or criminal about his attitude. We talked about his beliefs and I respect his rationale and his questioning mind. I deleted him from facebook and did not join any of his pages because I chose not to. Today I am writing in his defense as a human being who has the right to adopt different thoughts and beliefs than mine or yours! Until when will Arabs continue to reenact the farcical dramas of the Middle Ages inquisition courts? Until when will Arabs fear thinkers? Until when will we have people playing God in the name of Hisbah, promotion of virtue, prevention of vice, protecting public morality, or law and order keepers? Free Waleed! Free thinkers! Free your minds from those rusty shackles – and get a life!