cartoon images led to charge of blasphemy
Christian telecom mogul Naguib Sawiris was scheduled to appear in court tomorrow after being charged for “blasphemy and insulting Islam” on Monday for reposting a cartoon of a bearded Mickey Mouse and a veiled Minnie Mouse on Twitter.
Sawiris’ lawyer wrote in a press statement on Thursday that Cairo’s District Attorney has yet to set a trial date, according to the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram.
Among the group of Islamist lawyers who filed the lawsuit against Sawiris was Mamdouh Ismail, a former member of Islamic Jihad who has been known to represent accused terrorists and was himself arrested for complicity with al-Qaeda.
By Elizabeth Kendal
As US-allied dictators fell in Tunisia and Egypt, Iran scoffed while the US-allied dictators in the House of Saud shuddered. Everything changed, however, when Bahraini and Saudi forces, with the tacit approval of the US, crushed the ‘pro-democracy’ protests at Pearl roundabout. The media are confused by what they see as ‘mixed responses’ because they fail to realise that who falls is far less important than who rises. In Bahrain the protesters were Shi’ites; their success would have been Iran’s gain. When dissent was crushed in Bahrain, the ‘Arab Spring’ transformed into a struggle over the regional balance of power. For decades, the US – Sunni Arab axis prevailed. Then the Iraq War opened the way for Shi’ite Persian Iran to gain the ascendancy. As the struggle for the regional balance of power heats up, Syria becomes absolutely pivotal.
Syria is 90 percent Sunni Arab, yet it is central — both geographically and strategically — to the Iran-Syria-Hezballah (Shi’ite) axis. This situation arose because the ruling Assad family belong to the obscure Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ism considered heretical across Islam. Needing allies, Syria’s former president Hafiz al-Assad (father of the current president Bashar al-Assad) forged close bonds with Musa al-Sadr, the most prominent Shi’ite leader in Lebanon. In 1973 al-Sadr issued a fatwa recognising Lebanon’s Alawites as Shi’ites. This was not only a coup for the Alawites, it was vital for the region’s Shi’ites, for without Syria there would be no ‘Shi’ite Crescent’.