Abdul Kareem Nabeel Suleiman is a 22 year old law student in Egypt who blogged under the name Kareem Amer until being arrested one year ago today. Charged with ‘contempt of religion’ and Äòdefaming the President of Egypt,’ the young man was sentenced in February of this year to four years in prison. Supporters will hold rallies on Friday calling for his release in 14 major cities around the world, from London to Mexico City.
The demonstrations are being organized, in part, by the Free Kareem Coalition. The group says it is an interfaith organization founded and primarily made up of Muslims who disagree with what Kareem wrote on his blog but will “defend with all our might his right to express such opinions.”
According to his supporters, Kareem was raised in a religious family and educated in Egyptian religious schools throughout his youth. He was expelled from college and referred to Egyptian authorities in 2005 after his authorship of the blog karam903.blogspot.com was discovered. On that blog Kareem has criticized what he called Egyptian gender apartheid, he said that a religious riot he witnessed in Egypt showed the “barbarism and thievery and fanaticism” of Islam and on September 11th, 2006 he wrote a post titled “There Is No Deity but the Human Being.” Supporters have translated his posts into English but have included repeated disclaimers that they do not agree with what he has written. They ask international supporters of free speech to support the campaign in a number of different ways.
Below is an interview with Kareem performed after a college disciplinary board meeting, hosted on YouTube with translation overlayed using the service BubblePly. To learn more about the case and campaign, visit Freekareem.org.