Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Egypt's Satirist Bassem Youssef Now Charged With "Insulting Pakistan"

It didn't take long for Bassem Youssef (Egypt's 'Jon Stewart') to make headline news again. Last week, the courts threw out a lawsuit filed against him for skewering President Mohammed Morsi and Islam, this week some new complaints have surfaced- this time for "insulting Pakistan", "spreading atheism", and another charge for "insulting Islam."

In his weekly show al-Bernameg, the satirist wore a hat similar to, but much bigger than, that worn by Mursi while receiving an honorary doctorate from a university in Islamabad last month.

Another lawsuit claimed Youssef was attempting to “spread atheism” after he allegedly made fun of the prayer ritual, which constitutes “questioning one of the five pillars of Islam,” Egypt’s Tahrir newspaper reported.

The third lawsuit accused him of disrespecting a lawyer at the public prosecutor’s office, and police officers outside the court, when he was summoned in March.

Youssef posted satirical comments on Twitter such as: “Officers and the lawyer at public prosecution’s office want to take a picture with me.” The complaint considered the Tweet “insulting,” Tahrir reported.

The charges against Youssef have raised international concerns.

Mursi’s presidential office has insisted that citizens’ complaints, not the office itself, are behind the probe.

Youssef’s high-profile case has prompted the United States to express “real concerns” about the direction being taken by the Egyptian government.

Although the court threw out the lawsuit demanding Youssef's show be banned, the charges of insulting Islam and Morsi are still pending, and he's out on bail pending further investigation.

And we give this country millions in aid.

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