Interesting how Al Jazeera.net decided to report the sentencing of the Egyptian blogger to four years in jail.
Despite the title it gives to the story, "Egyptian Blogger Sentenced to Jail," the article quickly shifts from the blogger to an Imam who was in an Egyptian jail for 4 years after being kidnapped by CIA agents from Italy. An Egyptian court eventually deemed the arrest of the Imam "unfounded."
The two cases are legally unrelated.
Yet, Al Jazeera.net wants to relate them on the ground that both are examples of threats to freedom of speech.
That's a useful strategy to keep the focus on the political regime, which goes after anyone that speaks out against it, regardless of their political or religious orientation. It also helps expose the hypocrisy of the Azhar.
But there are differences.
The Imam wasn't kidnapped and arrested because he spoke out against Mubarak and "Islam." The blogger was.
The Imam will receive the sympathy of the Arab street as a victim of the CIA and the Mubarak regime.
The blogger is being reviled by the Arab street although he's a victim of the Mubarak regime, but not of the CIA. CIA trumps Mubarak any day of the week because somehow when we are jailed, tortured and raped by our own it is not supposed to hurt as much as when "they" do it to us!!! As the Arabic saying puts it: "Darb el 7abeeb zbeeb" (how sweet the blows of the beloved!) (watch the Aziz Abdo video clip for illustration).
The Imam is not seen as an enemy of Islam and no one is asking that he receives more jail time. Many are seeing the blogger as an enemy of Islam and wouldn't care if he were executed.
The Imam's father didn't disown him. The blogger's father disowned him.
The Imam's kidnappers were tried. The bloggers' prosecutors are being praised for defending nation and religion.
The Imam is worried he will be arrested for speaking to reporters; the blogger was just sentenced to 4 years for speaking on his blog.
The Imam got half the article although it wasn't his day in court. The blogger was grudged a full article totally to himself though it was the day he was put away.
Are the people of Al Jazeera afraid of looking like they're supporting someone found guilty of speaking against "Islam" and therefore feel the need to hide behind an Imam?
I'm just not happy with the report. I feel they don't fully grasp the importance of the sentence. Maybe they don't like bloggers after all.