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Daily Star: Quranist at Ibn Khaldun center still missing
Ian Renner in 07-06-16
Daily Star

CAIRO: Member of the Quranist movement and researcher at Ibn Khaldun Center, Amr Tharwat, who was arrested late May along with Adellatif Mohamed Saied, Ahmed Dahmash, Abdel Hamid Abdel Rahman, Ahmed El Sayed are still missing, announced the center in a recent statement.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, head of Ibn Khaldun Center, told The Daily Star Egypt that the Egyptian government must either “indict or release [Tharwat],” further adding that “we are worried that he may be subjected to torture.”

According to the wife of Mohamed Saied, the men were arrested in their homes early in the morning, and their books, CDs and cassettes were confiscated by police. The government has not responded to any requests by human rights organizations, a team of lawyers, or members of Ibn Khaldun Center, to tell of their location or the nature of the charges filed against them.

“We have received absolutely nothing [from the government],” stated Maria Dayton, an employee at the center.

Although there is no known reason for their arrest, Ibrahim released a statement suggesting that Tharwat's recent involvement in monitoring the Shoura Council elections, as well organizing opinion polls through the center, are the real reasons behind this action. The arrests also took place right after Tharwat returned from the fifth Doha Conference of Inter-Faith Dialogue, a pro-democracy conference.

Some of the arrested men are members of the Quranic movement, which, according to their web site aims “to spread a vision of Islam that is true to the letter and spirit of the Quran and that focuses on the consistency between the word of God, democracy and human rights.”

The group rejects large sections of the sunnah and the hadith (sayings of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH), and instead relies primarily on the Quran.

It has received particular attention lately because of its criticism of a recent controversial fatwa issued by an Al-Azhar university scholar about symbolic breastfeeding co-workers.

Sheikh Ezzat Atiya had drawn on Islamic traditions which forbid sexual relations between men and the women who had breastfed them, to suggest that symbolic breastfeeding could be a way round the strict segregation of males and females.

Other members of the movement had allegedly been targeted by security services, where in the Sharqeya governorate, for instance, they raided the home of the founder of the Quranists in Egypt.

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