The Social Networking Revolution Meets Islamists with No Sense of Humor

By Barry Rubin

Naguib Sawiris is an Egyptian business tycoon. He’s also the founder of the new, liberal Free Egyptians Party. He also tweets and has an Internet site. He’s also in big trouble. For something he posted. Pictures of Muhammad founder of Islam? Anthony Weiner type photos? No. Cartoons of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Read on.

His Mickey Mouse was wearing a beard, Minnie had on a veil, and both were wearing the kind of fashions favored by Islamists. The caption: “Mickey and Minnie after.” After what? After the revolution? After the Islamists take power? About the same time that the Western world discovers that—Surprise!—the Muslim Brotherhood is Islamist and really means what it has been saying for decades, even if the Western media doesn’t report it and Western experts say that it hasn’t been calling for Jihad, killing Americans, wiping out Israel, and similar things?

But Sawiris should have known better. After all, he’s a Christian himself. I think the Islamists would have gone after him even if he was a Muslim but when a Christian or Jew acts like that he’s endangering his fellows.

Professor Ahmed Mahmoud Kareema, from the Sharia Department of Al-Azhar University said that insulting religion is a criminal act under Islam. He claimed that if Sawiris had posted a cartoon of the Mouse family dressed as Jews or Christians he would have been accused of being antisemitic or anti-Christian (Christianophobic?). This made me laugh since antisemitic cartoons are so common in Egypt and have never nor will ever be criticized, much less prosecuted.

I also laughed because my immediate reaction was to think how strange it was for a college professor to demand people be prosecuted for engaging in free speech. Such a thing would never happen in Western democracies! Oops! That made me realize how hopelessly out of date I am.

At any rate, “Boycott Sawiris,” groups are now growing on Twitter and Facebook. One such message said, according to al-Ahram: “If you are really a Muslim, boycott his products if you love your faith….We have to cut the tongues of those who defame our faith.”

Isn’t it wonderful that Twitter can be used for inciting murder? Well, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini used tape cassettes to organize the Iranian Islamist revolution. Silly yuppies think they are the only ones who can use new technology gadgets. If Stalin were around today he’d be texting his BFFs, “Dude! Down with the enemies of the people & send them to Siberia b4 they stage a counterrevolution!”

Meanwhile, Sawiris is apologizing a lot on Twitter, claiming he was just joking. But the Islamist totalitarians are seeking his prosecution for blasphemy. (That’s “hate crime” in Western totalitarian speak.)

I wonder where Sawiris will be in a year or two. Somehow I think there are going to be a lot of Egyptian restaurants and Coptic churches opening up in Western cities in the not-distant future.