SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: August 20, 2017

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):Zagazig University

Region & Country:Northern Africa | Egypt

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 20, 2017, Zagazig University reportedly suspended Maher al-Maghraby, a professor of neuropsychiatry, pending an investigation into allegedly blasphemous Facebook posts.

Media sources report that several allegedly anti-Islamic posts appeared on Professor al-Maghraby’s Facebook page. Professor al-Maghraby, who is 66 years old, claims that his Facebook account was hacked and he was unable to quickly remove the posts before they had caught the attention of university officials. On August 20, the university’s president announced a decision to suspend for three months Professor al-Maghraby and withhold a quarter of his salary pending a disciplinary committee’s review. 

Scholars at Risk is concerned over the suspension of a scholar in apparent retaliation for non-violent expressive activities — conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights law including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a party. University authorities have a responsibility not to infringe on the right to peaceful expression and must comply with internationally recognized standards of academic freedom, freedom of expression, and due process.