Accusing Zewail of apostasy means accusing us all

Many were shocked after the death of Egyptian Nobel laureate Dr Ahmed Zewail, because some advocates of extremism were bold enough to publicly accuse him of apostasy. What was his crime? Is he not an enlightening figure for Egyptians, Arabs and Muslims because he contributed to human progress and the development of chemistry?

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood member Wajdy Ghoneim, who lives in Turkey, condemned Egyptian journalists also residing in Turkey because they were sorry for Zewail’s death. This was a sin to Ghoneim.

The killer is a blind tool who is most probably ignorant, as we have seen with the killers of Egyptian writer Farag Foda, or the stabber of Nobel prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz. However, people like Ghoneim are the real perpetrators of the crime.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed, former general manager of Al Arabiya News Channel, drew our attention to the tragedy of the brave Yazidi girl Nadia Murad. He made a very important point in his article regarding Ghoneim’s accusation against Zewail of apostasy.

What was his crime? Is he not an enlightening figure for Egyptians, Arabs and Muslims because he contributed to human progress and the development of chemistry?

Mshari al-Thaydi

“This is a new crime committed in public, and no one is doing anything about it,” Rashed wrote. “Ghoneim cites extremist scholar Nasir al-Fahd, who is like him. The only difference is that Fahd is detained in Saudi Arabia while Ghoneim is free, saying whatever he wants without being held accountable, and inciting people through his TV appearances and social media accounts. There are many like him.”

Saudi society

Since we have mentioned Fahd, we should remind people of what Saudi society has reaped from statements and religious edicts promoting hatred, incitement and sedition, and supporting them via misinterpretations.

Figures such as Fahd, Hammoud Aqla, Abd al-Rahman al-Barrak and Suleiman al-Alwan were models for extremist advocacy, hatred and strife in Saudi society.

Many intellectuals were targeted by their accusations. Some deluded themselves into thinking they would be spared accusations of apostasy, and that what was happening was just a quarrel between two movements rather than something that affects everyone. Provocation and incitement are not a viewpoint, but active participation in the crime.

This article was first published by Asharq al-Awsat on August 12, 2016.
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Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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