Egypt might ban atheism

  • 15/01/2018
Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha in Cairo, Egypt.
Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha in Cairo, Egypt. Photo credit: Getty

Blasphemy is already illegal in Egypt, but now lawmakers want atheism outlawed too.

"[Atheism] must be criminalised and categorised as contempt of religion, because atheists have no doctrine and try to insult the Abrahamic religions," said Amro Hamroush, head of the Egyptian Parliament's committee on religion, according to daily newspaper Al-Shorouq.

It's not clear if the atheism ban would apply to only those who actively reject the existence of a deity or include people who just aren't religious.

Mr Hamroush's move is supported by the head of Egypt's Islamic church.

"It is necessary to enact laws that deter people from violating the natural instincts of man and punish those who have been seduced into atheism," local media reported Mohamed Zaki of the Al-Azhar Dawa Committee as saying.

"The deterrent must be harsh and impeding to suit this malicious call, and stop this poisonous thinking from spreading among Muslims and young people."

The current punishment for blasphemy is up to five years in jail. Thirteen countries have the death penalty for blasphemy or apostasy (abandoning a religion).

Last month, a 29-year-old computer science graduate was arrested and charged with defaming religion, via a Facebook page that promoted atheism.

Another Egyptian lawmaker has drafted a Bill that would outlaw homosexuality, with punishment of five years in jail.