The Egyptian Initiative calls for the release of an Azhar teacher accused of spreading "Quranism" and the end to the prosecution of people with different religious affiliations 

Press Release

17 September 2020

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) called for the release of Reda Abdel Rahman, a teacher at the al-Azhar Institute in Kafr Saqr, Sharqia Governorate, and the dropping of the charges against him and others for publishing what is known as Quranism. Sources from Abdel Rahman's family said that on August 22, 2020, security forces arrested him and seven other relatives, all of them belonging to the family of Ahmed Sobhi Mansour, a former professor at al-Azhar University and a thinker known for adopting the doctrine of Quranism, and the sources added that the security forces asked them questions related to their relationship with Ahmed Sobhi Mansour and the fact that they adopted the doctrine of the Quranists, and released all of them except for Reda Abdel Rahman, who continued to be held in the National Security headquarters in Kafr Saqr.

The sources confirmed that they learned a few days ago that Reda was transferred from the National Security headquarters in Kafr Saqr to another location, which the security personnel refused to disclose. On September 13, al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper quoted security sources saying that the security forces had arrested a group of people accused of reviving Quranism in Egypt, and that the defendants were referred to the Supreme State Security Prosecution for investigation in preparation for their trial.

Sources from Abdel Rahman's family said that he had been repeatedly detained without any charges being brought against him several times for expressing his thoughts on his blog, and after his last detention in 2016, the security services ordered him to completely stop his activity and cut off his contacts with Ahmed Sobhi Mansour, and the sources added that he actually closed his blog and stopped any activity and cut off his communication with Mansour since that time.

Professor Ahmed Sobhi Mansour, was a lecturer at the Department of History at the Faculty of Arabic Language at al-Azhar University, was suspended by the university administration in 1985 due to adopting different ideas from the prevailing doctrine inside the university. He continued work and intellectual and social activity outside the university, and he was arrested for a period of two months, and the security services' pursuit of him and his family continued. And he immigrated to the United States of America in 2000, where he obtained political asylum.

EIPR condemns the prosecution of those affiliated with religious ideas different from the prevailing ideas in society or adopted by the state. It calls for guaranteeing freedom of belief and freedom of expression as rights guaranteed by the constitution, and calls for an immediate halt to trials for "contempt of religions" in accordance with Article 98 (f) of the Penal Code according to which the prosecution of holders of a wide range of ideas and beliefs, ranging from different Islamic schools of thought from the Sunni creed, such as: the Shiite sect, the Quranists, the Ahmadi, or those with critical opinions of the religious heritage, to the persecution of those with atheistic or non-religious ideas. These are the trials that have not slowed down at any time and continue until now, as the Mashtol al-Souq Misdemeanor Court in Sharqia last June sentenced two young men to one year in prison on charges of promoting Shiite ideas in accordance with the provisions of the same article.

EIPR also warns of the danger of using Article 27 of the Law to Combat Electronic Crimes issued in 2018 to target the same spectrum of non-traditional ideas and trends, under the pretext of “misuse of social media.” Last June as well, and according to this article, the Economic Appeals Misdemeanor Court in Alexandria upheld a 3-year prison sentence and a fine of 300,000 EGP was imposed on a blogger on charges of participating in managing the "Egyptian Atheists" Facebook page.