The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has denounced threats made by a group calling themselves the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (PVPV).
The group last week called on Saeed Shoaib and his wife Islam Azzam, both journalists, calling on them to “stop their attacks on Islam, leave secularism and return to Islam.”
In its statement, ANHRI called the threat an attempt to “muzzle their mouths and prevent them from writing.” The PVPV also demanded their case against the previous Muslim Brotherhood’s general guide Mahdy Agef be dropped.
“The right of litigation is an inherent right of every citizen,” the ANHRI statement read.
Tamer Mowafy, the head of the ANHRI research unit, said at this current time, there is very little information pertaining to the current situation. “All we really know is that she [Azzam] received the letter,” he said. “We do not know why she received the letter specifically but it will be revealed through investigations.” Shoaib had filed a complaint but has yet to receive word an investigation has started. “We do not have any proof this threat was even sent by a real group,” Mowafy added, saying that anyone can write a letter and attach a logo to it.
Originally the letter was delivered to Al-Ahram newspaper where Azzam works. The letter was addressed to her and demanded she “commit to the attires of Islam, stop working as a writer and mixing with men and return to raising your children full-time.
“We as a community of virtue and prevention of vice have much to do in case of non-compliance with the aforementioned points,” it continued.
ANHRI condemned the letter and said “the Egyptian authorities are responsible for protecting [the two journalists],” adding they must “immediately reveal those responsible for this threat.” The statement also warned the authorities of disregarding “such terrorist acts that seek to create a state within a state which interferes with the personal lives of citizens and uses the threat of violence to take the freedoms guaranteed to them by the constitution and the law.”
In 2006, Shoaib interviewed the former Brotherhood general guide. During the interview Agef cursed Egypt and Shoaib included this in his transcript. He said he had considered filing a lawsuit against Agef at the time but decided not to because he did not want to seem affiliated with the National Democratic Party. “Now that the Muslim Brotherhood holds the authority I decided to proceed with the lawsuit,” Shoaib said.
“I hold [President Mohamed] Morsy politically accountable for this threat because this letter gives people permission to threaten my wife’s life,” Shoaib said. He continued by saying the Brotherhood was also responsible for encouraging extremism and fanaticism because they are not taking the right measures to confront extremists.
Two months ago Shoaib received threatening text messages but said he did not think much of it. The letter was unprecedented because it mentioned his daughters, he said.