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Review: Bassem Youssef’s interrogation and Al-Azhar University incident occupy writer’s attentions

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Columnists in major Egyptian newspapers discuss the recent summoning for questioning of satrist Bassef Youssef and the fierce attack of Islamists on prominent artists and comedians. Also occupying the column inches was the food poisoning debacle at Al-Azhar University, which ended with the dismissal of the university’s president. Writers argue that the poisoning of more than 500 students is not the mere responsibility of the president.

Bassem Youssef faces off with the fascist Islamists

5-1 Saad El Din Ibrahim

Saad Al-Din Ibrahim

Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper

Ibrahim dedicates a supportive commentary to the Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef, who was summoned last week on accusations of religion blasphemy and insulting the presidency. The writer sees Youssef as a unique example of genuine Egyptian comedians and believes that his comic show “Al-Barnameg”, The Programme, exhibits a level of sarcasm that is needed in Egypt during the current political turbulence. The fierce attack by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood on Youssef denotes the significance of the latter’s program and his skillfulness in highlighting political developments in a joking manner.

The Brotherhood, though supported by nearly 15 million Egyptians, has never targeted an individual as it is doing with Youssef. Ibrahim calls upon Egyptians to strongly support Youssef and his message, arguing that if this comedian is taken down the entire structure of Egyptian arts will soon fall apart. Youssef, who impressed the American comic Jon Stewart, has managed to attract both national and international attention. His ability to bravely hold fast in the face of the charges with a big smile shows his persistence in protecting freedom of speech and expression in Egypt. The columnist concludes his piece stating that it should be a great honor to Youssef that Islamists are attacking like they are. This means that his messages have successfully managed to build logical arguments against the regime and the entire Islamist current.


University president at fault

5-1 Emad Al-Din Hussein

Emad Al-Din Hussein

Al-Shorouk newspaper

Looking over the recent incident at Al-Azhar University, where more than 500 students suffered from food poisoning, Hussein asks whether it was exclusively the responsibility of the university president. Hussein states that some analysts believe members of the Muslim Brotherhood were involved in the incident, aiming to ultimately get rid of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb and replace him with a more politically compliant sheikh. The writer believes that even if this was the case, does the Brotherhood approve of the precedent whereby one of its officials could be dismissed if a similar case occurred in his organisation?

If Egyptians went out to protest against the soaring prices of gas cylinders, would the Muslim Brotherhood agree on a decision to sack their Minister of Supply or will they call for suspending the person responsible for the gas cylinders warehouse. If citizens wake up one morning and demonstrate against a security incident, would the Brotherhood approve of the dismissal of their supportive Ministry of Interior or stop at holding a lower ranking police officer to account? Hussein argues that the concept of sacking Al-Azhar University president should be applied on all the country’s officials. He warns the Muslim Brotherhood not to apply double standards, a feature that so marked the work of the ex-regime of Mubarak.

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