An Egyptian atheist who was invited on privately owned TV network “Alhadath Alyoum” to present his ideas was summarily kicked off the show by its host earlier this month, with both the anchor and a second guest — a cleric — suggesting that the young man should see a psychiatrist.
In the February 11 segment, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, atheist Mohammad Hashem was barely allowed to explain his positions. He managed to say that “there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God” and that he did not “need religion to have moral values or to be a productive member of society,” before he was assailed by host Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim.
“How can you say that? Who created you? Who made you exist as a human being? …How come you exist in this universe?” Abd Al-Halim asked.
Hashem then tried to raise the Big Bang theory as one possible origin of existence, but was once again cut off by the host, who dismissed him as “confused and unreliable.”
Egyptian TV Host Kicks Atheist Out of Studio, Recommending Psychiatric Treatment pic.twitter.com/tXFyj9GF85
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) March 2, 2018
Abd Al-Halim then turned to his audience and apologized “for having an Egyptian of this kind on our show.” He claimed — while preventing Hashem from speaking — that “You have not uttered a single convincing word.”
Abd Al-Halim called Hashem’s ideas “heresy,” “inappropriate” and “destructive,” claiming he set “a very bad example for Egyptian youth.”
A second guest, Deputy Sheikh of Al-Azhar Mahmoud Ashour, suggested Hashem needed “psychiatric treatment,” a notion host Abd Al-Halim siezed upon: “Have you seen a psychiatrist? …I advise you to leave the studio and go straight to a psychiatric hospital.”
The host then ended the segment, once again apologizing to his viewers as a bewildered Hashem seemed lost for words.