We’ve got to be ready
We’ve got to prepare
The atheist danger is already there
So call the professors, and
Summon the shrinks
There’s harm in the way that an atheist thinks
We made a proposal
And got it approved
Which will see that the atheist problem’s… removed
The godless need helping
Oh, what they’ve endured!
They’re sick, we can tell, and it’s time that they’re cured
We’ll collect their objections
The weak and the strong
In a site where we’ll show that they’re totally wrong
A government project
With just the right touch…
And no one will claim we’re protesting too much
I vaguely remember hearing about this when it was first in the works, but now the proposal has been approved:
Minister of Awqaf (Religious Endowments), Dr. Mohamed Mokhtar Goma’a, approved a proposal prepared by a group of Awqaf scholars and experts in psychiatry and sociology to oppose atheism through forming an alliance between the Ministry of Awqaf and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The plan aims to confront the atheistic “phenomenon” by making the youth aware of the danger it poses for religion, morality, and patriotism. Part of the plan also consists of “curing” atheists psychologically, religiously, and socially.
They have seen what happens when the internet makes information and arguments available to everyone, so they know they need to do more than just shout:
In addition, the scheme focuses on collecting and studying all precedent cases made by atheists and proving them wrong, giving obligatory training by experts in psychiatry, sociology, and Islamic jurisdiction, and training university students and young ex-atheists to take part in the oppositional phenomenon. Other plans include “preventive” campaigns for youth and targeting atheism from its core roots and popular areas of expansion. A training program for imams and youth who wish to take part in this initiative is also part of the plan.
A Facebook page under the name of the “بالعقل كده”- which roughly translates to “using rationality” – a slang phrase used to invite people to reconsider and think matters through – will be created to serve as a public form of communication with youth. The aim behind the page is to provide a platform for questions by atheists, and also agnostics, to be answered and to provide methods of assistance for their family members to use.
But hey, they aren’t total dicks:
The Ministry of Youth also plans to set up a hot line to offer scientific and social means of assistance to the families of the atheists, in collaboration with an advisory-committee comprised of of Al-Azhar scholars.
Your family will be taken care of while you are being re-educated.
Egypt Independent has a brief (really, just four sentences!) summary that I find somehow chilling in its brevity:
Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa approved a plan that was prepared by several scholars, sociologists and psychiatrists to confront atheism.
The measure aims to raise awareness among Egypt’s youth of the dangers of atheism on morals, beliefs and nationalism.
The plan also entails answering the misconceptions of atheists through workshops, social media and a hotline that offers support to atheists and their families.
The project will be supervised through a committee of Al-Azhar scholars.
And I have to wonder, would the religious right in the U.S. look at this as horrendous, or as something to strive for?