Thursday, February 02, 2012

Egyptian Actor Fined For Insulting Islam

Egypt has its own version of frivolous lawsuits but over there you can get jail time. In a suit that would immediately have been thrown out of court in the West, the Arab world's most famous comic film star, 71-year-old Adel Imam, has been fined 1,000 Egyptian pounds (approximately $170.00). In addition to the fine, he has also been sentenced to 3 months in jail (in absentia) for insulting Islam

The case was brought by Asran Mansour, a lawyer with ties to Islamist groups, and had languished in court for months, judicial sources said.

Mansour accused the actor of offending Islam and its symbols, including beards and the Jilbab, a loose-fitting garment worn by some Muslims, the Egyptian news portal Ahramonline reported.

Among films and plays targeted by the lawyer were the movie “Morgan Ahmed Morgan” and the play “Al-Zaeem” (“The Leader”), the report said.

Another of his criticized works was a production back in 1994 called "The Terrorist" (al-Irhabi), but according to Imam

“All the works in which I have starred went through the censors. Had they been found to be defamatory, the censors would have banned them.”

Apparently this isn't the first time that someone in the entertainment industry has been sued for allegedly disrespecting Islam, it happens all the time to artist/intellectual types. But this case is different because Imam is a celebrity, the case sat around for a long while and was only resurrected since Islamists have come to power. 

Our prisons would be full if this happened in the U.S. There are so many films and plays that people find offensive, but thank God we live in a democracy where you might be black-balled for a while, or criticized but never fined or jailed.

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