Bassam Al-Baghdady (@Al_Baghdady on Twitter) is a Swedish film writer. He's translated Richard Dawkins' 2006 best-seller The God Delusion into Arabic. Bassam tells me the file may be disseminated freely, so go ahead and download Dawkins' God Delusion in Arabic for free! وهم الاله بقلم ريتشارد دوكنز.
Two disclaimers, though.
1. Despite numerous contact efforts over many weeks, I haven't received any response from Richard Dawkins or his staff when I've asked for permission to put the book up for download. The reason that I am going ahead anyway is that there is no official Arabic translation of the book that I could recommend people to buy. If Dawkins or his staff get in touch with me and ask me to take the file down, I will do so swiftly.
2. I don't know Arabic. For all I know, the file may actually contain the script of the third season of Seinfeld. But I trust Bassam and I will be interested to receive comments on his translation.
Even though I don't agree with Dawkins on a number of points, I think this is fantastic. Bold, brave, and exactly what's needed to counteract the deadly tide of fundamentalism-by-default in much of the Middle East.
Bassam Al-Baghdady needs to take immediate steps to protect his personal safety, because there will be people out to kill him and his family after this. He needs to contact an attorney ASAP, who specializes in "witness protection" or similar specialty in Sweden, and follow the attorney's advice in detail.
He also needs to know about protecting his location-data and other high-risk private information in cyberspace, because those data will lead attackers directly to his house. For starters, go to EFF.org and read the relevant sections of their website, and follow whatever links and keywords they provide, to learn more about the technical issues involved.
He might also want to contact the Swedish equivalent of the FBI and find someone he can stay in touch with there, who he can turn to and report any threats he receives.
I'm as serious as a heart attack about this. He will be in danger, and he needs to take steps to protect himself and his loved ones.
Then he, and the rest of us, can calmly watch as his translation stirs up the kind of debate that is desperately needed in many countries in the Middle East.
Bassam Al-Baghdady is presumably well aware of the security issues (I hope). Martin, have you discussed it with him?
-Regarding stirring up a hornet's nest, see this article about a whistleblower in the orthodox Jewish community. Even true believers are not safe once they expose abuse in some communities
I haven't talked to Bassam about security issues. I'm not sure what the threat level is regarding Dawkins. He is hostile to all religions, not just the one whose scripture is in Arabic.
He is hostile to all religions, not just the one whose scripture is in Arabic.
And not all who kill in the name of their religion claim to practice the one whose scripture is in Arabic. Those are the ones who have gotten the most publicity in the West in recent years, but there are others whose scripture is in Hebrew, or ancient Greek, or Sanskrit (and those are just the ones I have heard about).
It would surprise me to find Dawkins receiving threats from Hindu fundies.