Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nagla Al Imam: Ex-Muslim convert to Christianity . . . but what of her other views?

Nagla Al Imam
(Image from Al-Arabiya TV)

According to the ex-Muslim convert to Christianity Nonie Darwish, in an article "If You Convert You Die" (August 03, 2009) written for Front Page Magazine, the Egyptian feminist Nagla Al Imam has converted from Islam to Christianity:

[The] prominent Egyptian lawyer and women's rights activist, Nagla Al Imam, recently announced her conversion to Christianity in Cairo, Egypt. The announcement brought shock waves in and beyond Egypt. This is perhaps the first case ever of its kind, where a Muslim woman, who is also a Sharia expert, has openly challenged Islamic apostasy laws from within the Muslim world.

Ms. Al Imam's incredible courage was on display in an internet chat room, where she announced that she is not afraid, will stand up for the human rights of apostates and refuses to leave her homeland, Egypt. This was immediately followed by attacks and calls ('fatwas') for death of the 36 year-old graduate of Al Azhar Islamic University.
This is certainly surprising news, especially in light of Ms. Al-Imam's expertise in Sharia -- implying that she understands the deadly consequences -- but in certain respects somewhat less astonishing than the report about this same Al-Imam from last November 18 (2008), when Front Page Magazine posted the MEMRI translation of an interview on Al-Arabiya TV (October 31, 2008):
"Egyptian Lawyer Calls Out For Raping Jewish Girls."
Despite the article's title, Ms. Al-Imam was apparently ambiguous on what, precisely, she was calling for, whether harassment or rape. Asked to clarify the point, she seemed to rule out rape, for when the interviewer inquired, "Does this also include rape?" she replied:

"No. Sexual harassment."
Ms. Al-Imam also explained her reasoning:

"This is a form of resistance. In my opinion, they are fair game for all Arabs, and there is nothing wrong with [it]."
Pressed still further, she explained her justification in calling for this form of 'resistance':

"First of all, they violate our rights, and they 'rape' the land. Few things are as grave as the rape of land. In my view, this is a new form of resistance."
When the interviewer inquired, "As a lawyer, don't you think this might expose Arab youth to punishment for violating laws against sexual harassment?" Ms. Al-Imam replied:

"Most Arab countries . . . [w]ith the exception of three or four Arab countries, which I don't think allow Israeli women to enter anyway, most Arab countries do not have sexual harassment laws. Therefore, if [Arab women] are fair game for Arab men, there is nothing wrong with Israeli women being fair game as well."
Hmmm . . . was she speaking ironically here? She is, after all, a women's rights activist, so she surely does not believe that Arab women "are fair game for Arab men." Did she intend her remarks as criticism of Arab men's treatment of Arab women? If not meant in irony, Ms. Al-Imam's argument is odd, even bizarre. Even if ironic, the argument is overly convoluted.

Whatever she might have intended then, while still Muslim, I'd like to know her views now that she has converted to Christianity. I can't quite imagine that whatever Christian church she has attached herself to would officially affirm her statement on the right of Arab men to sexually harass Israeli women who are visiting Arab countries as tourists.

I respect her courage as an open apostate in a Muslim country (even if that seems rather foolhardy), and I support her free speech to say what she thinks (despite my visceral reaction to her words), but I'd definitely like to know if she genuinely approves of Arab men's right to sexually harassment Israeli women. I'd then better know what to think about her.

Unless her outrageous 'rape' statement and her very public 'conversion' are extreme publicity stunts . . . but to what end?

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At 6:31 AM, Anonymous erdal said...

Bizarre. But I suspect that there is a good reason for all of this. It's about generating notoriety to protect herself. Nagla Al Imam has for years been a campaingner for women's rights in Egypt, which eventually lead to persecution of such an extent that her "being disappeared" seemed imminent. Yet she was not a person in the public eye in Egypt, let alone internationally. These stunts do indeed serve to protect her. Now her disappearance would be noticed, so she is relatively safe for the moment. Her hope, I guess, is that her passport, which was taken from her two years ago, when she tried to flee Egypt by airplane, will be given back to her, so that Egypt can get rid of her without her being killed in the process.

At 6:37 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Erdal. You're ever a source of reliable, detailed information.

Al-Imam's outrageous remarks and overt conversion have certainly catapulted her to a lot of people's attention, and that might provide her with a degree of protection . . . for a while.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

KUDOS to the courage of nagla al imam she might be the first muslim woman to convert to christianity but there are many to do so in near future from almost all parts of the globe you will hear of this news of male and female leaving islam

At 7:20 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Abu Zubair, thanks for the visit. Nagla Al Imam is surely not the first woman to convert from Islam to Christianity, but she is possibily one of the first to do so quite so publicly.

But concerning your view that "in near future from almost all parts of the globe you will hear of this news of male and female leaving islam," could you expand on this remark? Is this occurring often? If you do think so, upon what evidence do you base your view?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She may have attended Al Azhar but she clearly didnt benefit in any way or form as she wasnt even wearing hijaab Shes an opportunist and there are plenty of them to go around.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Whether opportunist or not, she's certainly flamboyant in her religious decisions and outspoken in her various statements.

By the way, are Muslim women required to wear the hijab?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Ravit said...

I think she had been harassed her self .

Miss Ravit - Israel .

At 3:44 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

From the statistics that I've seen, Miss Ravit, this is likely.

Thanks for visiting.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Miss Ravit said...

Reading more about her , i give her a credit . I think she's very brave (although her problematic opinion about israeli women ). She's brave .

Miss Ravit

At 3:52 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'm still baffled and bothered by her words on Israeli women, but I agree that she is brave . . . if perhaps a bit foolhardy.

But possibly Erdal is right -- best to hide in plain view.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:04 AM, Anonymous VeritasEt said...

erdal said: "Bizarre. But I suspect that there is a good reason for all of this. It's about generating notoriety to protect herself."

Right, because no one actually converts from Islam to Christianity because of sincere belief?

Why do you look for some 'secret explanation' rather than taking what the woman has said at face value: That she used to believe Islam was the truth, now she believes Christianity is the truth.

It's called sincere conversion and it happens all the time.

At 5:11 AM, Anonymous VeritasEt said...

Horace Jeffrey Hodges said: "But concerning your view that "in near future from almost all parts of the globe you will hear of this news of male and female leaving islam," could you expand on this remark? Is this occurring often? If you do think so, upon what evidence do you base your view?"

We don't have to wait for the 'near future'. It's happening right now. According to Al-Jazeera about 6 million Muslims leave Islam and convert to Christianity every year in the continent of Africa alone.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

VeritasEt, I think that Erdal meant that in Nagla al Imam's case, generating notariety would protect her since she's famous already, not that she didn't sincerely convert.

As for me, I suspect that any ex-Muslim openly claiming conversion to another religion, especially an ex-Muslim living in a Muslim country, would have to be sincere.

Concerning Al-Jazeera's statistics, I'm aware of that figure, but I've seen no support for it and suspect that it's pulled out of thin air to alarm Muslims. The actual figure may be higher or lower, but I doubt that anybody really knows for sure.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are the most courages woman in the world to say the truth about islam...God bless you an save you to tell the truth;;; dont be afraid from the one who kills the body but from the one who kills both body & soul we all love you

At 7:44 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, Nagla Al Imam surely doesn't read my blog, so I don't think that she'll see your note to her.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nagla Al-Imam apparently has publicly denied that she ever gave this interview as it was shown on TV.

See for more details.

At 6:35 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, thanks for the address. You could easily link by following the instructions under "Leave your comment."

Here's the link: More News on Nagla Al-Imam.

I remain somewhat skeptical of Nagla Al Imam's story, but I'll wait for more confirmation.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nagla Al Imam is a very controversial woman in the Egyptian public eye. People generally think of her as non compos mentis. Her conduct is said to be ***. She did announce in Al Jazira that Arab men should rape Israeli women since the Israelis rape Arab lands and kill Arabs. This video is spread in the youtube site.

Regarding her conversion, she is not the only one. She is one of many others whose conversion stories usually end up with scandalous revelations on their being paid off to generate public agitation, achieve a win for Christianity and a loss for Islam, and to face the embarrassment caused by the sweeping tide of Christian conversions to Islam in Egypt.
The Church has been embarrassed more than once by declaring that some Muslims 'kidnapped' a Christian girl, married her off by force, converted her to Islam by force, etc. Top priests repeatedly gave orders to Egypt's Christians to make countrywide demonstrations so that the police brings the 'kidnapped' girls back. After a while, the same girls come out to the public confirming their Islam by free choice and pleading for the government to protect them from the persecution and threats of the Church. Recently, the Church's embarrassment has even mounted over the conversion of a priest's wife and countrywide Muslim demonstration took place demanding that the Church free her from Church arrest. The Egyptian Church keeps to itself an anti-human-rights right to detain new converts to Islam. Suspensions of torture are widely circulated and crucial evidence exist. Sadly, how thins turn show that the evangelical society in Egypt is very unwise or rather has gone out of its wits.
As erdal earlier suggested [apparently he has previous knowledge] Nagla and her children has recently disappeared after she gave breaking statements to one of Egypt's most read newspapers, Sawt Al Ummah (The Voice of The Nation), on December 7, 2009 in which she turned the table on the evangelical organizations in Egypt and America.

At 6:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to her, they gave her and others handsome amounts of money on different occasions. She affirmed that Pope Shenouda himself gave her generous gifts and that the Egyptian Coptic Christian organization in America is merely a 'gang' which collects donations and is ready to give huge monies to anyone who agrees to be converted and be part of big propaganda. The other stories are as much notorious. These failed staging of the Egyptian Church is one of the many reasons which cause Egyptian Christians to convert in alarming numbers to other Christian denominations and to Islam.
Copy of the newspaper's article about the dirty laundry of Christian evangelist organizations is found here

My Title

Nagla Al Imam appears on the page. The journalist who made the interview with her is a Christian. After she appeared later and denied the statements, he leaked his recorded interview with her -which she did not know that it was being recorded or that he is going to send it for print- to the internet. The woman who was on the recorded tape was definitely her, and she revealed more shameful secrets about the Egyptian Church. In no time Nagla and her children disappeared.

At 6:49 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous (Averroes?), I receive an automatic email for every comment posted to my blog, but your two comments have generated five emails, and your pseudonym "Averroes" has disappeared from the comment that had it.

Weird. I hope that your link isn't somehow generating these emails and alterations.

I don't know what to think about Nagla Al Imam, but much of what you say about Copts conflicts with what I've read over the years concerning restrictions on Coptic Christianity in Egypt, discrimination against Copts generally, and even outright persecution of Copts, including violent attacks.

Are you saying that all of these articles that I've read are lies and that the truth is actually 180 degrees opposite?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I used the signature Averroes and tried to send my comment several times before I understand that what prevents it from being posted is not the link inserted but rather its length, so I divided it.

As to your typical surprise toward that brief exposure of some harsh realities, I give you the best advice that each American is desperately in need of in order to avoid being deceived time after the other. It is simply:

(Doubt approximately 95% of the claims of discrimination, racism, and rebellion you hear about in the western world. Simultaneously, doubt the American or European reaction which will be mostly "endorsing our American values, standing by the weak, helping a country, bringing justice to this cruel world." The Western policies no such thing as right, wrong, mercy, peace, but only interest. Never trust your media or news. They are so crafty at twisting the truth even farther than your 180 degrees. Believe, as mush as you believe you are Jeffery Hodges, that behind every news story there is a real unrevealed story. A little proof: Did Iraq hide mass WMD? Did Ben Laden destroy the towers? Did the US bring liberty and peace to Iraq? Is there really a genocide in Darfour? What did the great seven do when real genocide was going in full swing in many places round the world "these places were non-strategic to the Us back then"?)

Take it or leave it. By no means you can imagine the influence Christians enjoy in Egypt and America. They look forward to starting a separate Christian state inside Egypt. The United States supports them in achieving this by nursing their propaganda and practicing pressure on the Egyptian government to obey all their demands, the most noticeable is the agreement to submit newly converted Christians for Church detention, to be concise, priests who convert or anyone of their family members and important personalities.

Yes, I'm telling you you should dumb all their propaganda in a latrine then flush.


At 8:23 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Averroes, thanks for explaining the extra emails. Now some responses:

"The Western policies no such thing as right, wrong, mercy, peace, but only interest."

If so, this would also be true of non-Western policies.

"Never trust your media or news. They are so crafty at twisting the truth even farther than your 180 degrees."

Past 180 degree returns us toward the truth. But "never" trust? I wouldn't go that far.

"Did Iraq hide mass WMD?"

No, it didn't.

"Did Ben Laden destroy the towers?"

Yes, he and Al-Qaeda were behind that destruction.

"Did the US bring liberty and peace to Iraq?"

Not completely.

"Is there really a genocide in Darfour?"

Yes, there was. By Arab janjaweed militias backed by the Sudanese government. Currently in abeyance.

"What did the great seven do when real genocide was going in full swing in many places round the world . . . ?"

Far too little, far too late.

Those are my responses, but this discussion is getting rather far from the topic of this post.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben Laden destroyed the towers? Ok! Please expanse your search on this point a little more then come back to us with the results.
Unlike what was circulated in the Media the Darfurian civilians are Muslim Arabs as much as the so-called Janjaweed are. What was going on in Sudan was not a genocide, not even in the least bit. You have good reason to believe otherwise because an all-out propaganda was operating fiercely to produce this marvelous effect.


At 9:04 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, Al-Qaeda was behind 9/11. As for Darfur, everyone familiar with the news already knows that the Darfur residents are Muslim, but that doesn't make them Arab. Ethnicity is distinct from religion.

Anyway, I suggest that we save each other a lot of time and energy by agreeing to disagree in signing off. I feel no need to prove my views to you, and I doubt that you feel any need to prove yours to me.

Moreover, as I stated, this is getting off topic, and I have too much work to do on other things.

Let's therefore halt this on a cordial note.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let it be so


At 9:12 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...


Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I do not intent to reopen or extend this post but to set part of it right. It is the part in which I repeated what people say about her conduct. I take back this part for in reality I did not bear witness to such a thing, I have no valid evidence, nor am I able either to confirm or deny it. This note is in apology to her and to clear my conscious for repeating what others say without proof.


At 8:12 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Averroes.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:29 AM, Blogger sherifview said...

She is mentaly unstable and Muslim and Islam hater.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Why brought her to hate Islam?

Jeffery Hodges

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