Mohammad Hashem, an atheist, was invited to the Alhadath Alyoum TV studio to participate in a debate with former Deputy Sheikh of Al-Azhar Mahmoud Ashour. However, his statement that there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God and his attempt to talk about the Big Bang theory met with a barrage of insults from Sheikh Ashour and from TV host Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim, with Sheikh Ashour recommending psychiatric treatment and Abd Al-Halim refusing to allow him to remain on the show. The TV host, apologizing to his viewers for subjecting them to "inappropriate" and "destructive ideas," advised Hashem "to leave the studio and go straight to a psychiatric hospital." The show aired on February 11.
Following is a transcript:
Mohammad Hashem: I’m an atheist, which means I don’t believe in the existence of God. I don’t believe in Him.
Mahmoud Ashour: What? What was that?
Mohammad Hashem: I’m an atheist, which means I don’t believe in the existence of God. I don’t believe in Him. That’s what atheism means. I don’t need religion to have moral values or to be a productive member of society.
Mahmoud Ashour: Why did you become an atheist?
Mohammad Hashem: Because there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God.
Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim: How can you say that? Who created you? Who made you exist as a human being?
Mahmoud Ashour: Do you know how you were created?
Mohammad Hashem: There are many theories explaining our existence on this planet…
Mahmoud Ashour: I’m asking you a question. How did you become a human being?
Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim: How come you exist in this universe?
Mohammad Hashem: Okay, let me explain. There are theories that try to explain our existence. One theory is that God created us. Okay? But there are other theories, with much more evidence, like the Big Bang theory…
Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim: Speak Arabic! You are in Egypt, and you are addressing simple people, so don’t use big words for no reason.
Mohammad Hashem: I’m using these terms because science is conducted in English…
Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim: What science are you talking about?
Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim: You are confused and unreliable. You deny the existence of God and reject our religion and principles…
Mohammad Hashem: Is this so bad?
Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim: Of course. You come here to talk about a certain idea, but have nothing to offer. You offer atheism! You offer heresy! I apologize to the viewers for having an Egyptian of this kind on our show. I am sorry, Mohammad, but you cannot stay with us on the show, because your ideas are inappropriate, I’m sad to say. We cannot promote such destructive ideas. You have not uttered a single convincing word.
Mahmoud Ashour: Look, dear Mohammad, you need psychiatric treatment. Many young people today suffer from mental illnesses, due to material or mental circumstances…
Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim: It’s like Sheikh Mahmoud says. Have you seen a psychiatrist?
Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim: I advise you to leave the studio and go straight to a psychiatric hospital. You shouldn’t be here. Unfortunately, I cannot let you be here anymore. Please get up and leave, and I will continue the show with Dr. Mahmoud… Unfortunately, your ideas are destructive and bad for Egyptian youth. You set a very bad example for Egyptian youth.
Let’s take a break, our guest will leave the studio, and we will continue with Dr. Mahmoud…
Mohammad Hashem: I’m not being allowed to present my ideas…
Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim: No. Again, let me apologize to my viewers for having such a person on the show. I invited him to talk about ideas, but unfortunately, he has nothing convincing, nothing substantial, to offer. He sets a bad example to Egyptian youth. Mohammad, you can’t stay here. I advise you to go straight to a psychiatric hospital.