Egyptian intellectual Nasr Abu Zeid lashed out at Kuwaiti authorities for denying him entry into the Gulf sheikhdom, contending that Kuwaiti Islamists had been behind the decision. "Intellectuals aren’t pariahs; I don’t have swine flu that they should deny me entry," he said.
Abu Zeid added that, although he had a valid visa for Kuwait–where he had been invited by Ahmed el-Baghdadi, head of the Kuwaiti Cultural Dialogue Center–he had been denied entry at the airport without explanation.
Abu Zeid was also barred from entering the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate’s Cairo headquarters Tuesday, where he had planned to attend a conference. He was therefore forced to give press statements from outside the syndicate building, where he called on intellectuals to confront "religiously extremist" politicians.
When asked whether Egypt should cleave to its national identity at the expense of its Arab identity, Abu Zeid said: "Our collective identity can have more than one facet."
Attendees at the syndicate conference declared solidarity with Abu Zeid, demanding an official apology from the Kuwaiti authorities.
According to Mohamed Abdel Qoddous, head of the syndicate’s freedoms committee, the order to bar Abu Zaid from syndicate premises was issued last year. "Only the syndicate president can rescind the order, but he’s out of town," said Abdel Qoddous, without explaining why the order had been issued in the first place.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.