In Support of Anis al-Degheidi

UPDATE: Police have arrested the alleged Youm al-Sabea hacker, 24-year-old Tarek Ahmed, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Just to confuse me, he has been charged with, among other things, denigrating religion (he allegedly hacked Youm al-Sabea because he was angry with them for “denigrating religion.” Makes my head spin.)


Anis al-Degheidi, author of the controversially titled Trials of the Prophet Muhammad, has apparently switched off his mobile phone and is not taking interviews.

This is after Youm al-Sabea’s website was hacked by a religious extremist or extremists who don’t want the paper to publish al-Degheidi’s new novel, which—as you might expect—doesn’t actually criticize the prophet.

Al Masry Al Youm said that the hacker or hackers posted a message to the news website claiming their attack was due to “transgressions against the Muslim Prophet Muhammad and his family, companions and wives [which were] posted on Youm el-Sabea‘s website.”

Youm al-Sabea noted in an interview with Al Masry Al Youm that they had not yet published al-Degheidi’s book or any part of it.

According to Al Arabiya:

Khaled Salah, editor-in chief of the paper and the website, expressed his surprise that the hacking took place even though an announcement was made Friday that the book would not be posted unless authorized by al-Azhar [italics mine].

“I personally objected to the title of the book,” he told Al Arabiya. “But the book itself is excellent. I read it myself and it has nothing that defames the prophet.”

The book apparently tells the story of a Muslim lawyer who travels to Denmark to defend Muslims against a Danish lawsuit that demands the expulsion of all Muslims from the country.

The Muslim lawyer finds himself in the position of defending Islam and Muhammad (hence the title).

That this book, which is most likely a defense of Islam, finds itself the target of religious enthusiasts, is, of course, a head-shaker. Still, I applaud Egyptian literary authors willing to approach the subject of religion, as Mohamed Mansi Qandil has recently done in Moon Over Samarqand and Youssef Ziedan in Azazeel and Khaled al-Berry in his memoir Life is More Beautiful Than Paradise.

ISA this will be published, and I don’t have another title to file under censorship – Egypt.