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Monday, January 9, 2012
Egypt:Coptic businessman on trial over cartoon: bearded Mickey Mouse and veiled Minnie Mouse

Coptic businessman on trial over cartoon
Egypt Independent Mon, 09/01/2012 - 12:27
http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/591651

The Central Cairo Prosecution has referred Coptic businessman Naguib Sawiris
to trial over charges of defamation of religion.

In June, Sawiris posted a picture depicting Mickey Mouse wearing a beard and
Minnie Mouse wearing a face veil on his Twitter account, a cartoon that many
Muslims considered offensive.

Sawiris later apologized for posting the cartoon, however, his apology did
not manage to calm the anger of Salafis who filed a report accusing him of
defaming religion.

Salafi groups also launched a one-month campaign to boycott companies that
Sawiris owns or is a partner in, such as Mobinil and Al-Masry Al-Youm,
causing heavy losses, particularly for his mobile phone company.

On 25 June, Mamdouh Ismail, the lawyer for Jama'a al-Islamiya, and 14 other
lawyers filed a suit over the incident, accusing Sawiris of intentionally
ridiculing Islamic icons and attire.

According to the paper, Ismail said Sawiris has openly said he rejects
Article 2 of the constitution, which states that Islam is the religion of
the state, Arabic is its language, and Islamic Sharia is the main source of
legislation.

Ismail added that Sawiris previously expressed his rejection of the veil,
which he said provides proof that the former intentionally derides Islamic
dress.

Other Islamist movements also criticized Sawiris after he posted the
cartoon.

In July, Mohamed Morsy, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and
Justice Party, criticized Sawiris and described him as "a corrupt icon from
the former regime."

In August, meanwhile, Sawiris accused Islamists of "hijacking the 25 January
revolution" and later said liberal forces will not allow Islamists to
control the process of writing the new constitution.

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