German author in hiding after receiving Islamist death threats

Hamed Abdel-Samad is now in hiding following a series of death threats after a speech in which he criticised radical Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood

by The Commentator on 13 June 2013 20:38

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A German author of Egyptian origin has gone into hiding after recieving death threats from Islamists, according to the Agence France Presse and DW.de websites.

Hamed Abdel-Samad is described as one of Germany’s highest-profile experts on Islam, however the author went into hiding on Tuesday following death threats, as announced by his publisher.

The head of the Droemer Knaur publishing house, Margit Ketterle, said in a statement: "Hamed Abdel-Samad is taking the call for him to be murdered seriously and has gone into hiding."

The calls for the author to be killed followed shortly after a speech he gave in Cairo last week wherein Abdel-Samad criticised radical Islam and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, accusing them of spreading "religious fascism."

Abdel-Samad reportedly said he did not intend to insult Islam, but that he had a right to express his views.

Shortly after the speech Assem Abdel Maged, a leading member of the radical Egyptian group Gamaa Islamiya, used a television appearance to declare Abdel-Samad an "infidel." Islamist websites then began publishing a picture of the author with the words "wanted dead" emblazoned across the top.

"We are shocked by the persecution of our author and support him as much as we can," said Ketterle, who spoke of a "smear campaign that came directly from the sphere of the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi."

The German government's human rights commissioner, Markus Löning also expressed shock at the news, saying there was "nothing to justify" such death threats.

"I expect the Egyptian government to clearly and unequivocally distance itself from [the threats]," Löning said. He also called on the government in Cairo to ensure his safety.

Abdel-Samad was born in Egypt but moved to Germany at the age of 23. The political scientist who now holds German citizenship has published several books critical of Islam. 

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