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Cablegate: Detained Blogger Released; Auc Still Stymied In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS CAIRO 008700

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NSC STAFF FOR SINGH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KISL EG
SUBJECT: DETAINED BLOGGER RELEASED; AUC STILL STYMIED IN
EFFORT TO OVERTURN AZHAR BOOK BAN

REF: CAIRO 8498

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Blogger Abdul Karim Nabil Soliman has been
released after spending more than two weeks in the custody of
Alexandria's State Security Investigative Service. Abdul
Karim announced his November 13 release with a post on his
blog (www.karam903.blogspot.com). Aside from his post, Karim
has kept a low profile, declining so far to meet with the
media. A leading Cairo-based blogger with whom we spoke
opined that the vigorous campaign of e-mails to the GOE and
other governments by Internet freedom advocates in Egypt and
abroad had played a role in pressuring the GOE to release
Abdul Karim.

2. (SBU) In another freedom of expression controversy
reported reftel--the case of Al-Azhar's ban on an academic
monograph on the history of the Wahhabi movement by
Georgetown University scholar Natana De Long-Bas, 1000 copies
of which the American University in Cairo sought to import
for distribution in Egypt--Al-Azhar appears to be sticking to
its guns, despite a formal request by AUC that Azhar
reconsider its position. In a November 15 report in the
weekly "Aqeedati" (published by Al-Gomhoriya newspaper), AUC
reportedly has said that it will continue to urge Al-Azhar to
withdraw the ban on the book. In the same article, author De
Long-Bas has announced her willingess to debate publicly the
book with an Azhar official, and so that she could prove that
it an objective and respectful study. Al-Azhar has not
responded to De Long-Bas's offer.


RICCIARDONE

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