In Brief

Egyptian student arrested for carrying 1984

Banning people from reading George Orwell's novel is the 'epitome of ignorance', academic says

An Egyptian student has been arrested near the entrance of Cairo University for carrying a copy of George Orwell’s 1984.

A security official involved in the case, Major General Mahmoud Farouk, said the 21-year-old student, was arrested after he was caught in possession of two cell phones without batteries, two USB drives, a hard disk and a copy of the novel 1984. 

Poilce referred to the man as Mohamed T, according to the Egyptian newspaper Egypt Independent.

The Egyptian ministry of internal affairs issued a statement explaining the arrest, Arabic newspaper Al Araby Al Jadeed reports: "[The novel] talks about military regimes which rule in corrupt countries." The student also had with him notes about how the Islamic Caliphate could be established in Egypt, the security source said.

After the military coup against the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013 and the subsequent election of the former army general Abdul Fatah al-Sisi as president, banning people from reading Orwell's novel represents the "epitome of ignorance and backwardness," one Egyptian academic told Al Araby Al Jadeed.

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