Mohamed Hisham

Mohamed Hisham In existographies, Mohamed Hisham (1992-) (FA:258) [RGA:375|375+] is an Egyptian free thinker and atheism activist, noted for []

Overview
In c.2015, Hisham, in his early 20s, began to frequent various atheist forums, in particular the popular Atheist Republic, founded by Armin Navabi (2011).
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In early 2018, Hisham saw an advert on the Atheist Republic forum, which said that the Egyptian TV show Alhadath Alyoum TV, which roughly translates as “The Event News” or “Egyptian Street TV”, was looking for young atheists to come on the show for open dialogue.

On 11 Feb 2018, Hisham appeared on Alhadath Alyoum TV, wherein he was pitted up against Mahmoud Ashour, a Sheikh, described as “former deputy Grand Imam of Al-Azhar” (Ѻ), and Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim, the TV show host, who is like an Islamic Bill O’Reilly on amphetamines. The dialogue, translated by translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), went as follows (bolded comments signify shouting or raised voice; continuation dots signify an interruption): [4]

Hisham: I’m an ‘atheist’, which means I don’t believe in the existence of god. I don’t believe in him.

Sheik: What? Ah … Ah … What was that?

Hisham: I’m an ‘atheist’, which means I don’t believe in the existence of god. I don’t believe in him.

Hisham: That’s what atheism means.

Hisham: I don’t need religion to have moral values or to be a productive member of society.

Sheik: Why did you become an atheist?

Hisham: Because there is no scientific evidence for the existence of god.

Hisham dialogue (2018)
Snippets from the 11 Feb 2018 Egyptian TV show dialogue between Hisham, an open Egyptian atheist, Mahmoud Al-Halim, the host, and Mahmoud Ashour, a religious Sheikh.
Host: How can you say that! Who created you? Who made you exist as a human being?

Sheik: Do you know how you were created?

Hisham: There are many theories explaining our existence on this planet …

Sheik: I’m asking you a question. How did you become a human being?

Host: How come you exist in this universe?

Hisham: Ok, let me explain. There are theories that try to explain our existence. One theory is that god created us. Okay? But there are other theories, which much more evidence, like the big bang theory …

Host: Speak Arabic! You are in Egypt, and you are addressing simple people, so don’t use big words for no reason.

Hisham: I’m using these terms because science is conducted in English …

Host: What science are you talking about?

Host: You are confused and unreliable.

Host: You deny the existence of god and reject our religion and principles …

Hisham: Is that so bad?

Host: Of course. You come here to talk about a certain idea, but have nothing to offer.

Host: You offer atheism! You offer heresy!

Host: I apologize to the viewers for having an Egyptian of this kind on our show.

Host: I’m sorry, Mohammad, but you cannot stay with us on the show, because your ideas are inappropriate, I’m sad to say. We cannot promote such destructive ideas. You have not uttered one single convincing word.

Sheik: Look, dear Mohammad, you need psychiatric treatment. Many young people today suffer from mental illnesses, due to material or mental circumstances …

Host: It’s like Sheik Mahmoud says. Have you seen a psychiatrist?

Host: I advise you to leave the studio and go straight to a psychiatric hospital.

Host: You shouldn’t be here. Unfortunately, I cannot let you be here anymore. Please get up and leave, and I will continue the show with Dr. Mahmoud …

Host: Unfortunately, your ideas are destructive and bad for Egyptian youth. You set a very bad example for Egyptian youth.

Host: Let us take a break, our guest will leave the studio, and we will continue with Dr. Mahmoud …

Hisham: I’m not being allowed to present my ideas …

Host: No. Again, let me apologize to my viewers, for having such a person on the show. I invited him on the show, to talk about ideas, but unfortunately, he has nothing convincing, nothing substantial, to offer. He sets a bad example to Egyptian youth.

Host: Mohammad, you can’t stay here. I advise you to go straight to a psychiatric hospital.


Hisham then left the studio. The show received received 10s of millions of views worldwide, in the Islamic world, and then later in the English world, e.g. on YouTube. Hisham then began to face social opprobrium, e.g. death threats, job barring, family disownment, etc.
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Hisham dialogue 2
A screen shot from Hisham's13 Mar 2018 public debate, his second televised appearance as a "public atheist", on a Berlin-based show called Youth Talk. [5]
On 13 Mar 2018, Hisham went on national television a second time, via video stream, on a show called show called “Shaba Talk” (or "Youth Talk"), located in Berlin, as shown adjacent, wherein he was pitted up against the same host and another person, and new more neutral and open minded host. [5]
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On 17 May 2018, Sam Harris tweeted (Ѻ) Hisham’s GoFundMe campaign, after which the rest of the donations and famous names in the public discourse fell into place from that point. [2]

Other
Hisham has also publicly acknowledged that he is "openly gay" (see: queer chemistry), which is a crime in Islamic countries, punishable by being thrown off the roof. [4]

Quotes | On
The following are quotes on Hisham:

“This guy’s balls are 1000 pounds each and made of titanium.”
— Punk Nomad (2018), response (Ѻ) tweet to Sam Harris tweet, May 17

“An advert post on Atheist Republic intrigued the now 26-year-old. There was a call for atheists in Egypt to appear on a popular TV show to discuss their ideas. A way to reach a large audience and do something to stem the decades-long rising tide of conservative Islam strangling his homeland was needed. Mohamed and a handful of others decided to find out if this was that way. By the fateful day of airing, however, the handful had dwindled to one. During the drive to the studio, that one thoughtful young atheist weighed the cost and chose to proceed.”
— Tory Garnaut (2018), "Article", May 23 [2]

Quotes | By
The following are quotes by Hisham:

“I am Mohamed Hisham, and I am a public atheist in Egypt. The first step to a society that has freedom from religion is to stand up and be heard. I did that, appearing on TV twice, and immediately paid a price. Family, society, and now the state have declared themselves my enemy, with beatings at home, credible threats of death from across Egypt, and constant fear of jail my new reality. I can no longer peacefully express myself in this place. I can’t win here on my own.”
— Mohamed Hisham (2018), GoFundMe story, May 11 [1]

See also
● Sherif Gaber | Egyptian atheist [RGA:99|375+] jailed for making a Carl Sagan like YouTube video in Arabic

Reference
1. Mohamed Hisham (2018) – GoFundMe.com.
2. Anon. (2018). “Mohamed Hisham, a Public Atheist in Egypt | Troy Garnaut” (Ѻ), Conatus News, May 23.
3. Ghanem, Pamela. (2019). “Help Mohamed Hisham – an Openly Gay Atheist from Egypt – Find Freedom and Safety” (Ѻ), Atheist Republic, Jan 31.
4. Anon. (2017). “Hisham Interview”, Egyptian Street, Feb 11; reposted as: “Egyptian TV Host Kicks Atheist Out of Studio, Recommending Psychiatric Treatment” (2018) (Ѻ), Memri TV Videos, Mar 2.
5. Anon. (2018). “Mohamed Hisham Debate” (Ѻ), Youth Talk, Mar 13.

Further reading
● Anon. (2018). “Atheist Kicked Off Egyptian TV, Advised to See Psychiatrist” (Ѻ), Times of Israel, Mar 2.

Videos
● Anon. (2018). “Viewer Response Call Ins” (Ѻ), Mohamed Nofal, Apr 13.
● Hisham, Mohamed. (2018). “My Asylum Video” (Ѻ), Mohamed Hisham, YouTube, May 23.

External links
Help for an Atheist (2018) – Reddit.com.

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