American being held in Dubai for making comedic video
And it's not even about Islam.
A young American man living in Dubai has been in jail since April for posting what was supposed to be a funny video on the internet.
The Dubai authorities do, indeed, have a sense of humor, but it resides in their justice system; they are charging the young man with "endangering national security."
Now, the family of Shezanne "Shez" Cassim wants to bring attention to his case ahead of a hearing December 16.
The video in question is a 19-minute short that pokes fun at a clique of Dubai teens who are influenced by hip-hop culture. In the 1990s, the label "Satwa G" was coined for a group of suburban teens who were known to talk tougher than they really were.
The video depicts a look at a "combat school" in the suburb of Satwa, where these "gangsters" are trained. The training includes how to throw sandals at targets, using clothing accessories as whips, and how to call on the phone for backup.
"It's like someone in the U.S. making a parody video of a Brooklyn hipster and getting thrown in jail for it and being held in jail for months without bail," Cassim's brother, Shervon Cassim, told CNN affiliate KARE. "That's what's going on here."
Cassim's family says Shez, 29, has been charged with endangering national security, but they've not been told what about the video endangered security.
UAE authorities did not respond to CNN requests for details about what charges Cassim may be facing and why.
"It's just a straightforward silly comedy video. And he's being treated like some sort of dangerous criminal, high security criminal that they need to keep under maximum security conditions," Shervon Cassim told KARE about his brother.
Shez Cassim has lost a lot of weight, but is otherwise in good physical condition, his brother told CNN.
Cassim, from Woodbury, Minnesota, moved to Dubai in 2006 after graduating college to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He and some friends made and posted the video online in 2012. He was arrested in April 2013.
According to the family, Cassim and eight friends have been charged under a cybercrimes law for endangering public order. This law, the family says, wasn't passed until after the video had been released.
Perhaps Cassim has angered some higher up whose son is part of this "gang." Otherwise, the Dubai authorities better get a grip on reality. This makes them look like 15th century nomads scared of "losing their soul" when a camera takes their picture, it's that ridiculous.