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In war against atheism, Egypt targets cafes

Egyptian authorities have reportedly shut down a Cairo cafe that was popular among atheists, though some activists say that the officials' display of force is little more than a media show.
A man delivers coffee in a cafe near Tahrir square in Cairo, February 9, 2011. Egyptians counted the economic cost of more than two weeks of turmoil on Wednesday as re-invigorated protesters flocked again to Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand President Hosni Mubarak quit immediately. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS) - RTXXNDD

On Dec. 14, Egyptian news sites reported that Gamal Mohi, chief of the Abdeen neighborhood, led a group of policemen to close down Hikayatuna Cafe in downtown Cairo. Mohi said that the cafe had been housing groups of young atheists. The crackdown came a few days following the Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah's (Egyptian House of Fatwas) report that Egypt has the highest population of atheists in the Arab world at 866.

Mohi's statements sparked satirical comments on social networking sites. In a press statement, the governor of Cairo said that the cafe was shut down because it was not licensed, not because it was frequented by atheists.

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