CAIRO (TheBlaze/AP) — Egyptian prosecutors say they have launched an investigation against a popular television comedian for allegedly insulting the president. The action comes as fears continue to surround Islamist domination and a potential crackdown on free-speech that many liberal groups have feared since the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups won power.
An Islamist lawyer filed the charges against Bassem Youssef, whose show on a private Egyptian satellite channel is modeled after Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”. The host has outraged conservatives and garnered fans among the country’s liberals for parodying public figures.
The general prosecutor’s office said Tuesday they are looking into charges that he insulted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi by putting his image on a pillow and parodying parts of his speeches.
It is the latest in a series of charges filed by Islamist lawyers against media personalities for allegedly insulting Morsi. It is actions like this one that cause many to question the merits and future plans of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
As previously reported, last week, Morsi proclaimed the country’s newly adopted constitution as the dawning of a “new republic,” calling on the opposition to join a dialogue with him after a month of violent turmoil and focus on repairing a damaged economy.
Morsi sought to present the Islamist-drafter charter as the turning of a historic page for Egypt, but his speech did little to ease the suspicions of those who fear he and his Muslim Brotherhood are entrenching their power. He offered no concrete gestures to an opposition that has so far rejected his dialogue and vowed to fight the constitution.
Instead, with a triumphalist tone, he presented the constitution, which was approved by nearly 64 percent of voters in a referendum as creating a democracy with balanced powers between branches of government and political freedoms. Considering this latest charge against Youssef, though, some will question just how far this “freedom” goes.