Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Christian businessman charged with blasp...

Email:

Christian businessman charged with blasphemy in Egypt over tweet

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Christian businessman charged with blasphemy in Egypt over tweet

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Egypt

A prominent Christian businessman and liberal political leader in Egypt has been charged with “blasphemy and insulting Islam” for tweeting an image of Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in Islamic clothing.

Telecommunications executive Naguib Sawiris, who also heads the secular liberal Free Egyptians political party, will face a trial after a group of Islamist lawyers filed a lawsuit against him. He could face a year in prison if convicted.

Naguib-Sawiris-4X3.jpg
Naguib Sawiris

The picture of a bearded Mickey Mouse wearing a traditional Islamic robe and Minnie Mouse in a niqab, posted by Mr Sawiris on Twitter last June, prompted thousands of complaints on the internet.

He apologised saying, “I just thought it was a funny picture; no disrespect meant. I am sorry.”

But the apology was not enough to placate the offended Muslims, and various Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, led a nationwide campaign calling for a boycott of products and services offered by Mr Sawiris’ companies.

He is the chairman of Orascom Telecom and a major shareholder in mobile phone service provider Mobinil. Around 300,000 customers have left Mobinil, accusing Mr Sawiris of insulting Islam.   

Political dimension      

There have been suggestions that the legal action against Mr Sawiris could also have a political dimension. Criticising the charges and trial, human rights lawyer Gamal Eid said:

Contempt of religion’ is a very vague term, and the prosecution has taken the radical interpretation, raising questions of whether this is a legal or a political matter.

Advocating a secular, liberal future for Egypt, Mr Sawiris has openly opposed the Islamists’ plan to draft a new constitution heavily influenced by sharia law.

And that prospect looks increasingly likely as the country’s two leading Islamist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party and the Salafist al-Nur party, emerged from the parliamentary elections with around two-thirds of the vote. Mr Sawiris’ Free Egyptians party came a distant third with around ten per cent.  

The blasphemy charge against Mr Sawiris raises further concerns about the direction in which post-revolution Egypt is heading. While the uprising was characterised by calls for a secular democracy, key principles of such a state – freedom of speech and religion – appear to be lacking in this case.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Christian businessman charged with blasphemy in Egypt over tweet

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Praise God for the continued Christian presence in northern Mali, despite the apparent desire of jihadists to wipe it out. Most of the Christians who had fled the region when Islamist radicals took control in 2012 have now returned to their homes, after French troops ousted the Islamists. Many church buildings were desecrated, looted or severely damaged, but the Christians are determined to resume their ministries. Pray for their protection. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 21 hours ago

    • Continue to pray for church leaders in Christian-majority Burundi that they may have wisdom in responding to the unfamiliar situation of political restriction by their own government. A new law passed in August requires each church to have at least 500 members and a proper building; congregations were given a year to comply. Pray that religious liberty will be maintained in Burundi, both for Christians and for the small minorities who follow other religions. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Dec 2014 00:00

    • Heavenly Father, we pray to you for our Christian brothers and sisters in north-eastern Nigeria, who are so vulnerable in the face of attacks by Boko Haram militants. We remember especially those who used to live in Shani, in Borno state, until their town was raided by Boko Haram on 29 November. We cry out to You to intervene and bring an end to the murderous attacks by Boko Haram. We pray for all the thousands of Nigerian Christians who have suffered in similar attacks that they will not lose hope or faith in You, but will know Your peace which passes understanding. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Dec 2014 00:00

    • “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also,” said the Lord Jesus. (John 15:20). Let us not forget our brothers and sisters who suffer daily because of their faithfulness to Christ and help them with our prayers (Philippians 1:19). Pray that they may take comfort in the words of the Lord Jesus, knowing that He understands what they are enduring for His Name. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Dec 2014 00:00

    • The substantial Armenian Christian population of Syria are mostly descendants of Armenians who fled to Syria to escape from the Armenian Genocide, which peaked in 1915. The attacks of Islamist groups in Syria, which they now face, seem to them like another genocide. But praise God for their courage and determination. When the mainly Armenian town of Kessab and its surrounding villages were attacked the inhabitants fled for safety to Latakia. After the Syrian army had liberated Kessab, the Armenian families began to return to their homes, even though there was no electricity or water and they had to go back to Latakia every night to sleep. Elsewhere, when the situation in Homs stabilised, an Armenian congregation wanted to repair their church building first, but their church leader urged them to focus on making their homes habitable again. Pray that they may remain strong in the Lord. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Dec 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks