Egypt's Ahram Online reports March 2 that Abdullah Mohamed Morsi -- the son of ousted president Mohamed Morsi of the ultra-conservative Muslim Brotherhood -- was arrested for possession of hashish. The young Morsi and a friend were detained at a security checkpoint in the Nile Delta's Obour City, Qalyubia governorate, where officials say they found two "joints of hashish" (presumably hash-laced tobacco) in their car. The two were released after they agreed to give blood and urine samples, which could result in their conviction. Abdullah's brother, Osama Morsi, condemned the arrest on his Facebook page, asserting the claim of drug possession is being used to "taint the image of honest people."
According to police officials, Abdullah's friend and co-defendant, Mohamed Emad El-Shamy, is an employee at Raya Holding for Technology and Communications, a company owned by leading Muslim Brotherhood figure Hassan Malek. Ousted president Mohamed Morsi is currently facing multiple trials for charges including espionage and killing protesters.
While Egypt's ruling military council has hardly loosened up on hashish, the Brotherhood in its one year in power was more aggressive in demonizing cannabis from the bully pulpit. Penalties are harsh -- possession of even small quantities can land a life sentence, and trafficking can mean the death penalty. But as portrayed in a Global Post report from February 2013, in the middle of Morsi's rule, hash is openly mixed with tobacco at Cairo's many hookah bars, with the police turning a blind eye. Let's hope that young Abdullah's bust will, once again, expose the puritans as hypocrites -- and maybe win a little more breathing room for Egypt's centuries-long tradition of hashish-imbibing.