In a February 11, 2022 interview on Mayadeen TV (Lebanon), Egyptian researcher Ahmad Abdou Maher criticized the way that modern or liberal Islamic thinkers are sent to prison and accused of heresy while Muslims are expected to sanctify the early companions of the Prophet Muhammad, who he said ate with their fingers and drank camel urine for medicinal purposes. He said that this attitude degrades today's generation of Muslims, and he and the show host discussed liberal Islamic thinkers who have been killed for their beliefs. The show's host, Yahya Abu Zakariya, also said that he is familiar with a liberal Algerian thinker whose body was exhumed so that it could be was beheaded and so that his head could be displayed in pubic. It should be noted that Ahmad Abdou Maher was convicted of "contempt of religion and disturbing the public peace" and sentenced to five years in prison. For more about Ahmad Abdou Maher, see MEMRI TV Clips Nos. 8473, 5999, 5669, 5409, and 5234.
Ahmad Abdou Maher: "Sadly I have to say that our teachers, scholars, professors, and thinkers were met with the virtual sanctification and worship of the early Muslims, and the labeling of everybody else as infidels.
"So they thought that all of Prophet Muhammad's companions pleased Allah, even though [the Quran says] that some of them 'when they saw a bargain or a fanfare, they flocked to it, leaving you standing,' and even though Allah said that some of them are hypocrites 'who are not known to you and are know to Us, and We shall torment them twice.'
"Nobody knew who they were, but nevertheless, they forced us to say about this entire generation 'may Allah be pleased with them.'
"Unfortunately, those early Muslims whom we glorify - the so-called 'pious predecessors'...
"[They] did not invent as much as a spoon with which to eat their food.
"To this day, they still pressure us to understand that even though they would eat with their fingers and drink camel urine as medicine, we should glorify that generation of the first Muslims and degrade ourselves.
"This is despite the fact that we have some thinkers of the highest order, as well as pious believers of the highest order.
"Instead of paying attention to them and encouraging them, we throw them in jail, and say that they do not follow the Islamic script we have on our hand, and therefore they are blasphemous and heretics and so on.
"They annulled the marriage of Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd. Does the court in a civilized country have the right to pronounce a person 'heretic,' and declare his marriage annulled?
Yahya Abu Zakariya: "I believe that the annulment of Dr. Nasr Abu Zayd's marriage, Allah's mercy upon him, was the lesser evil, because some of his colleagues, some thinkers, had their throats slit. A colleague of ours in Algeria died of a natural cause, so they exhumed his corpse and severed his head from the body. Then they hanged his head for everybody to see."