Blasphemy is illegal in Egypt, and arrests are routinely made if people insult or defame Islam under the country’s strict religious laws. Egyptian lawmakers are now considering outlawing atheism altogether.
“The phenomenon [of atheism] is being promoted in society as freedom of belief when this is totally wrong,” Amro Hamroush, head of Egypt’s Parliament’s committee on religion, said when he introduced the bill in late December.
An atheist was kicked off a live TV show in Egypt as he was presenting his reasons for being an atheist.
TV host Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim told him he was being “inappropriate” then asked Mr Hashem to leave, saying: “We cannot promote such destructive ideas...you set a very bad example for the Egyptian youth. He added: “I advise you to leave the studio and go straight to a psychiatric hospital.”
Former deputy sheikh of Al-Azhar, Mahmoud Ashour, was also on the programme, agreed, telling him: “Look, dear Mohammad, you need psychiatric treatment. Many young people today suffer from mental illnesses due to material or mental circumstances.”