Egypt: From Kareem to Mahmood

monem1.jpgAnother Egyptian is behind bars for saying the wrong things online, according to blogger Tom Gara .

But while the first Kareem Nabeel Sulaiman – got all the attention a four-year-sentence could muster for insulting Islam and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, the second, - Abdul Monem Mahmood – who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, is not as lucky.

“It isn't surprising to see this happen – but it is surprising to see the lack of concern among the same people who were pretty loudly expressing their dismay at the arrest and imprisonment of Abdelkareem Soliman.
“The big difference between the two? Abdelkareem was heavily anti-Islamic in his writings and Mahmoud blogs for the Muslim Brotherhood. That's all I can really see,” explains Gara.

Ironically, Mahmoud actually got some attention for writing in support of Abdelkareem. Just for some context here, lets remember Abdelkareem is the guy who wrote that

“For as long as Islam exists on this planet all your efforts to end wars and disputes and upheavals will fail because Islam’s dirty finger will be found behind every catastrophic event to humanity.”

Despite saying about the nastiest thing you can possibly say about his religion, Abdelkareem was defended by Mahmoud (who is, remember, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood). Mahmoud said:

“I disagree with Abdul Kareem Amer’s views. However, I do not disagree, at all, that this security practice is unjust towards a youth in the prime of his life. Punishing him, or punishing others having their opinions, will not succeed in changing their ideas.”

A site - Free Kareem – put up by supporters to rally support for Suliaman, writes the following in defence of Mahmood:

Just recently, Ana Ikhwan blogger Abdul Mon’em Mahmoud, who has previously expressed solidarity for Kareem, was arrested and is being held for at least two weeks pending an investigation. The Egyptian government is not taking lightly his blogging on security officials’ acts of torture, as well as random detentions suffered by Egyptians.

The Free Kareem Coalition expresses its deep concern for the detention of Abdul Mon’em and hopes for his release.

The post also has links to and quotes from Reporters Without Borders and The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.

“Voicing concern about increasingly repressive policies towards online dissent, Reporters Without Borders called today for the releaser of blogger Abdul-Moneim Mahmud, who was arrested on 14 April at Cairo airport. He has been charged with membership of an “illegal organisation” (the Muslim Brotherhood), but his arrests seems to be linked to the photos and reports about the torture of detainees that he has posted on line,” said Reporters Withour Borders.

The state prosecutor’s office in Shoubra Al-Khaima ordered that Mahmud should be held for at least two weeks while he is investigated for alleged membership and financing of an illegal movement. Many local sources say he has in fact been targeted for reporting arbitrary arrests and acts of torture by the security services on his blog, Ana Ikhwan, and on the Muslim Brotherhood’s website.

Mahmud covered demonstrations organised by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and circulated photos of police brutality on the Internet. Aged 27 and a journalism graduate of Cairo university, he is also a correspondent for the satellite TV station Al-Hiwar (The dialogue).

The Arabic Network states:

Security forces on Friday Dawn, broke into the residence of Abdel Men'em Mahmoud reporter of Al-Hiwar TV and administrator of the celebrate blog “Ana Ikhwan”
( to arrest him. However, Mahmoud was not home at this hour, and because he was tortured in a previous episode for 13 days before, he disappeared to make sure of the reasons for this campaign, which probably could be his activities in media coverage to police quelling practices against Muslim Brothers’ activists.


  • I think it is a bit too early to say Monem is not getting the same kind of response Kareem did. It took quite sometime to start something for Kareem when he was first kidnapped back in November 2005. Monem arrives in a scene ready for bloggers news from Egypt after Kareem and Alaa. As a matter of fact, to have CPJ, RSF and HRW on Monem within a week is not bad at all.

    This does not mean, however, that I expect Monem to get the same response Kareem did, although in the Arabic blogs outside the Egyptian blogsphere he is. For the first time a Saudi blogger is openly campaigning to free a fellow blogger. It is just too early to say, especially with our English-speaking megaphones not writing about it: the Arabist seems to be somewhere else, the Big Pharoah is slowing down, the Sandmonkey is vacationing in Turkey, and Nora Younis is writing amazing posts in Arabic. Only Hossam el-Hamalawy is writing something about it in English, although among so much about the labor scene in Egypt.

  • I’ve written about Mahmoud and why Westerners should support him, but my blog gets about two real visitors a day. Not only is there an issue of basic reciprocity (Mahmoud stuck his neck out for Kareem, so should we who support Kareem assist Mahmoud), but also of showing that the West is serious about liberal democracy by supporting people who show signs of understanding it. Beneficiaries of Islamic assistance in the Rwandan massacres converted to Islam – I don’t expect beneficiaries of Western assistance to become Western, but I do expect that they would develop respect for us if we show respect for them.

  • […] Abdul Monem Mahmood, a Muslim Brotherhood blogger, was arrested by State Security on April 15 for articles he wrote online. Though different in ideologies, fears are that he will share the same fate as his country-blogger Kareem Nabeel Sulaiman. It is no wonder then that Sandmonkey has given up blogging and Ala’a is no longer a blogger. أنا أصلا مش مدون، يعني قلب كده في المدونة مش هتلاقينا قمنا بأي عمل يندرج تحت الصحافة الشعبية، ولا أنا بعبر عن نفسي بجد بدليل أني تقريبا مكتبتش عن أي حاجة مهمة بالنسبة لي بجد، لا كتبت عن مراتي ولا أهلي ولا كتبت عن الكوميكس ولا كتبت عن البرمجيات الحرة و الهوة الرقمية و لا عن شغلي ولا أي حاجة ليها القيمة في التكنولوجيا ولا عن أفلام ولا موسيقى بحبها. حتى السجن مكتبتش عنه بجد. […]

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