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Nineteen years after his assassination, ANHRI honours writer Farag Fouda

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 9 June 2011 - ANHRI has decided to commemorate prominent leaders of thought in Egyptian, Arab and international history to remind nations of those who have fought and sacrificed for freedom of opinion and expression.

Farag Fouda was assassinated by terrorists on 8 June 1992 for his opinions calling for secularism and the exclusion of religion from public affairs, as well as other beliefs he held until the day of his assassination.

Fouda was an activist and an innovative, brave intellectual who fought against extremism, narrow-mindedness and intolerance. He called for a civil country based on citizenship, stating, "Religion for God, and national home for all." He wrote many books, including "Absent Truth", "Trick" and "Dialogue on Secularism", aimed at fighting apathy through expression, opinion and thought.

Campaigners against so-called religious blasphemy targeted not only Fouda, but also several other intellectuals and writers, including Naguib Mahfouz, who survived an assassination attempt, Nasr Hamed Abu Zeid, who was separated from his wife owing to a hesba case, Sayed El Kamny, Saiid El Ashmawy, Khalil Abdel Karim, Ahmed Sobhi Mansour, Noual El Saedawy, Ikbal Baraka, Saad Din El Wahba and others.

During the investigation into Fouda's murder it was disclosed that the assassination was the result of a fatwa issued by an extremist who described Fouda as a "renegade" who "should be killed".

In the trial, Fouda's killer was asked, "Why did you assassinate Farag Fouda?", to which he responded, "He was a disbeliever." The questioner then asked, "Which writings show that he is a disbeliever?" The killer responded, saying, "I did not read any of his books. I am illiterate."

ANHRI, in memory of Fouda's assassination, affirms that it is a form of terrorism to fight the thoughts and opinions of Fouda and other writers. This type of terrorism is totally repudiated because thoughts never die. To the contrary, they remain as proof of the hatred which ANHRI hopes Egypt has rid itself of.

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