Mon, Jan 09, 2012 | By Crethi Plethi
Egyptian Coptic billionaire faces trial for contempt of Islam
So much for free speech in Egypt. Islamists, who have no sense of humor when it comes to their religious believes, will dictate what you see, hear, wear and do in the “new Egypt”.
A member of the ultra-conservative al-Gamaa al-Islamiya group filed a legal complaint against Egyptian businessman [billionaire and telecom mogul], Naguib Sawiris, for contempt of Islam.
This time, it is about tweeting a caricature of Mickey Mouse with a beard and Minnie Mouse in Islamic garb in June 2011 for which Sawiris apologized after Islamists called for a boycott of his cell phone service provider Mobinil.
Lawyer Mamduh Ismail, who filed the complaint, told Al Arabiya
“This is the first fair decision of the prosecution to send Naguib Sawiris to trial, and there are two other cases on which Sawiris has not been sent to trial yet … The decision to send Sawiris to court affirms that we have begun the implementation of the rule of law and the achievement of justice in the true sense of the word and that no one is above the law anymore … The chief prosecutor summoned Sawiris to hear his explanation about the charges he faces — defamation of religion — and after that a decision was issued to refer the case to court.”
The court will hear the case against the billionaire Coptic Christian who founded the liberal Free Egyptians party on Jan. 14, Ismail told Al Arabiya.
During the January 2011 revolution, words of freedom and democracy echoed through Tahrir Square. The Egyptian army recognized the mass protests as the people’s legitimate right to “freedom of expression.” The world was excited and U.S. President Barack Obama supported the protests and told his former ally, Hosni Mubarak, that it was time for change.
The Islamists played the game: not (or willingly not) recognized by the Western media. Present yourself as moderates and change the country after winning the elections into an Islamist Sunni “dictatorship” where minorities (Christians, women, apostates, etc.) have no rights whatsoever.
During the rule of former president Hosni Mubarak, Islamists accused him of suppressing the freedom of the Egyptian individual. But not much has truly changed since the fall of “the dictator,” and things will be worse since the Muslim Brotherhood and salafist parties recently had an overwhelming electoral victory which will eventually give them the power to draft a new constitution based on Islamic beliefs and Sharia law.
In June, Sawiris sparked a storm of criticism after tweeting the Mickey Mouse cartoon joking that Mickey and Minnie would be forced to dress conservatively if Islamists took power. But not even a joke about Islamists is allowed in the “new democratic Egypt.” These tragic events however show that Sawiris was right when he tweeted his joke in June, but at that time he was certainly not aware that this could lead to curtailing free speech of the Egyptian individual in the near future.
According to Al Arabiya Sawiris accused Islamists in August 2011 of “hijacking the 25 January revolution” and vowed that liberal forces in Egypt will not allow Islamists to solely take charge of drafting a new constitution. Now he faces another struggle, the struggle for his individual freedom. The fact that he is a copt [Egyptian Christian] will not benefit his case.
The battle for “freedom of expression” still exists in Egypt, but now it’s because of Islamist “dictatorship”.