Hamed Abdel-Samad

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Hamed Abdel-Samad
Hamed Abdel-Samad (2013).jpg
Hamed Abdel-Samad (2013)
Native name حامد عبد الصمد
Born (1972-02-01) 1 February 1972 (age 45)
Giza, Egypt

Hamed Abdel-Samad (Arabic: حامد عبد الصمد‎‎, IPA: [ˈħæːmed ʕæbdesˈsˤɑmɑd]; born in 1972 in Gizeh, Egypt) is a German-Egyptian political scientist and author.


Abdel-Samad was born as the third of five children, the son of a Muslim Sunni Imam.[1] Abdel-Samad came to Germany in 1995 at the age of 23. He soon married an 18 years older, "rebellious, left-wing teacher with a penchant for mysticism." Abdel-Samad studied Japanese, English and French in Cairo[2] as well as political science in Augsburg. He worked as a scholar in Erfurt and Braunschweig. In Japan, where he was involved with eastern spirituality, he met his second wife. He taught and conducted research until the end of 2009 at the Institute for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Munich; his dissertation topic was: Bild der Juden in ägyptischen Schulbüchern ("Image of the Jews in Egyptian textbooks”). Subsequently he decided to become a full-time professional writer.

A member of the Muslim Brotherhood in his university days, a stay in a summer camp run by them triggered doubts, causing him to become skeptical, and finally identify as an atheist. [3]


Abdel-Samad became known to the German public through his book Mein Abschied vom Himmel (My Farewell from Heaven) (2009). It is neither a settlement with his culture, nor a call to abandon the Muslim faith. According to Abdel-Samad, he just wanted to understand the contradictions of his life.[1] Following the book’s publication in Egypt, a group issued a fatwa against Abdel-Samad and he was put under police protection.[1]

Abdel-Samad calls for an "Islam light" in Europe without shari'a, jihad, gender apartheid, proselytism and “entitlement mentality”.[4] He criticized the German political establishment for appeasing Islam, while ignoring fears about Islam. According to Abdel-Samad, this behavior created resentment in the German population.[5]

Abdel-Samad participated in the German Islam Conference held at the invitation of the German Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière.

In autumn 2010, Abdel-Samad took the journalist Henryk M. Broder on a 30,000 km-long road trip through Germany for a five-part TV series.

In an interview aired on Al-Hafez on June 7, 2013 (as translated by MEMRI), hardline Egyptian cleric and Al-Azhar professor Mahmoud Shaaban[6][7][8] accused Abdel-Samad of committing "heresy" and stated that "he must be killed for being a heretic...if he refuses to recant." Shaaban also stated that "after he has been confronted with the evidence, his killing is permitted if the [Egyptian] government does not do it."[9]

In mid-2015, he launched Box of Islam show on his official YouTube channel, Hamed.TV which has 25k+ subscribers and 4M+ video views.

In 2016, he was questioned by the Berlin police for alleged sedition. This was criticized as an attack on free speech by him and German newspaper Die Welt.[10]

Alleged kidnapping[edit]

Egyptian news websites reported the kidnapping of Hamed Abdel-Samad by unknowns on Sunday 24 November 2013 according to his brother Mahmoud.[11][12] It was then reported that he resurfaced on Wednesday 27 November 2013.[13] His mother denied that he was kidnapped.[14]


  1. ^ a b c Ich bin zum Wissen konvertiert (I converted to knowledge), tageszeitung, 8 september 2009, accessed on 8 January 2010.
  2. ^ SWR:Der Ägypter und die erlittene Gewalt:Hamed Abdel-Samad (The Egyptian and the violence suffered:Hamed Abdel-Samad), retrieved on December 27, 2010
  3. ^ Ahmed Benchemsi (23 April 2015). "Invisible Atheists". New Republic. 
  4. ^ Hamed Abdel-Samad: Und es gibt ihn doch - den Islam! (And it's there yet - Islam!)- Tagesspiegel of 5 Jan. 2010, retrieved on December 27, 2010.
  5. ^ Hamed Abdel-Samad. Die Muslime sind zu empfindlich (The Muslims are too sensitive), Tagesspiegel, 1 December 2009.
  6. ^ Security hiked for Egypt opposition, Aljazeera, February 7, 2013.
  7. ^ Egypt secures liberals' homes after calls for their death by Alexander Dziadosz, Reuters, Feb 7, 2013.
  8. ^ Egyptian 'death threats' sheikh released on bail, Ahram Online, Wednesday, February 13, 2013
  9. ^ Egyptian Cleric Mahmoud Shaaban Issues Fatwa: Egyptian-German Scholar Should Be Killed for Heresy, MEMRI, clip 3892 (transcript), (video clip available here), June 7, 2013.
  10. ^ Wolffsohn, Michael (2016-03-16). "Der Islamkritiker als Volksverhetzer?". Retrieved 2016-04-12. 
  11. ^ "German author Abdel-Samad resurfaces in Egypt after kidnap fears". DW.COM. 
  12. ^ "الوطن - اختطاف الكاتب حامد عبدالصمد.. وشقيقه يتهم قيادات سلفية بعد إهدارهم دمه". 
  13. ^ ""الداخلية": عودة الروائي حامد عبدالصمد بعد اختطافه لمدة 3 أيام من قبل مجهولين". 
  14. ^ "البوابة نيوز: والدة حامد عبد الصمد: ابني لم يتعرض للاختطاف". البوابة نيوز. 


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