Morsy should respect freedom of expression, says writer

News article, posted 06.28.2012, from Egypt, in:
Morsy should respect freedom of expression, says writer (Photo: Al-Masry Al-Youm)

Artists and intellectuals demand that President-elect Mohamed Morsy clarify his stance on the freedom of speech and creativity in all fields, said writer and critic Ahmed al-Khamisi on Wednesday.

“We want a promise, or a pledge, that creativity won’t be judged by religious methods,” Khamisi said.

“The religious approach is suitable for the fields of ethics and upbringing, but they are not suitable for judging arts that are based on other approaches, rather than religious preaching,” he claimed.

Khamisi is a secular writer and translator who studied Russian literature at the University of Moscow. He was detained for his political activism for three years.

“We’ve seen demands to stop teaching Taha Hussein’s novel, ‘Al-Ayyam’ (The Days) in schools due to religious reasons. According to the creative approach, however, [the book] helps to build character and morals and stimulates children to be great,” Khamisi argued.

He stressed that he wants the president to specifically draw the line between matters governed by religious criteria and artistic matters that would be exempt from such criteria.

Following Morsy's victory, some intellectuals have raised concerns that an Islamist president would curtail the freedom of expression and would impose restrictions on art and creativity.

“We want him to pledge to not censor artists and their freedom of creativity, whoever they are,” added Khamisi.