Popular Egyptian television satirist Bassem Youssef, who has come to be known as Egypt's Jon Stewart, waves to is supporters as he enters Egypt's state prosecutors office to face accusations of insulting Islam and the country's Islamist leader in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 31, 2013. (Photo: AP)
The overthrow of Egypt's longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak has done little to increase freedom in Egypt. Now run by the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's economy is in a free-fall, sexual assaults are on the rise, and those who speak out against the government are subject to retribution.
TheBlaze has been covering the case of Egypt's influential television comedian Bassem Youssef for months. Long called "the Egyptian Jon Stewart," Youssef is now battling a government that seeks to punish him for "belittling" President Morsi and insulting Islam. He was arrested and interrogated for 5 hours on Sunday, but has since been released.
On Monday, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart took the Egyptian government to task for its hypocrisy and treatment of dissidents, noting that he's made a career of mocking the president.
"You're the president of Egypt, you have an army. He's got puns and a show. You have tanks and planes -- we should know, we still have the receipts," Stewart said, addressing Morsi. "Look, silencing a comedian doesn't qualify you to be president of Egypt, just president of NBC..."
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi attends the opening of the Arab League summit in the Qatari capital Doha on March 26, 2013. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
The influential American comedian continued:
What are you worried about, Mr. President? The power or satire to overthrow the status quo? I've been doing this crap-fest for fifteen years...Just so you know, there's been a grand total of, ah, zero toppled governments we've brought about during that time...
But come on! Charging Bassem Youssef with insulting Egypt in Islam? I know Bassem. Bassem is my friend, my brother. There are two things he loves in this world with all his heart: Egypt and Islam -- and his family...
My point is Bassem Youssef loves Egypt so much he chooses to live there even though some crazy guy is threatening to arrest him.
Stewart concluded with a word on on the so-called "Arab Spring" and how Morsi obtained his own power.
"By the way, without Bassem and all those journalists and bloggers and brave protesters who took to Tahrir Square to voice dissent, you President Morsi, would not be in a position to repress them," he said pointedly.
"Democracy isn’t democracy if it only lasts up until someone makes fun of your hat,” he concluded.
Watch Stewart's scathing 2-part defense of his Egyptian counterpart via Comedy Central, below: