It's a crime to make fun of Egypt's Morsi
No "speaking truth to power" in President Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood's Egypt. Laughing is only allowed when the government approves, as a popular satirist named Bassem Youssef found to his dismay.
The satirist, Bassem Youssef, who hosts a widely watched show modeled on "The Daily Show," has been the subject of numerous legal complaints filed by Islamist lawyers and citizens who took umbrage at Mr. Youssef's skewering of Egypt's political class, including Mr. Morsi, his loyalists and the opposition.
But the arrest warrant seemed to represent a sharp escalation of the campaign against Mr. Youssef, with the public prosecutor appointed by Mr. Morsi lending official credence to the complaints. In the nine months since Mr. Morsi took office, his government has been accused of employing the same harsh measures against dissent as did the previous authoritarian leaders, including prosecuting critics, confiscating newspapers and placing sympathetic journalists in state news media organs.
Last week, the public prosecutor, Talaat Ibrahim, ordered the arrest of five anti-Islamist activists on charges that they had used social media to incite violence against the Muslim Brotherhood.
Shortly after the warrant was announced Saturday, Mr. Youssef confirmed on Twitter that he had been summoned and said he intended to visit the prosecutor's office on Sunday, the beginning of Egypt's workweek. "Unless they were so kind as to send a police wagon to pick me up today, and save me the transportation," he added.
It was not immediately clear which episodes of Mr. Youssef's program, which is watched by millions of people on television or on the Internet, had prompted the warrant. Al Ahram, the state newspaper, said Saturday that prosecutors had considered the testimony of 28 complainants and had examined four episodes.
Tell me again why Egypt is so much better off thanks to the "Arab Spring."
Morsi has delayed the next round of elections for several month, which could mean that he believes the Muslim Brotherhood would lose a substantial amount of power. The Brotherhood has become toxic in Egypt. People are sick of their power grabs and their mismanagement of the economy. The Salfis are faring a little better, but they too have come in for criticism for joining the Brotherhood in ramming through the constitution and dictating a new voting law that was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court.
Give him two years and Morsi will have the country looking just as it did during Mubarak's time.