Youssef, who has utilized social media and television in the past two years with meteoric success throughout
Youssef was eventually released, though he continuously tweeted messages throughout his hearing that immediately went viral. Due to his strong following with expatriates from
Since beginning his campaign, Youssef has consistently remained a powerful advocate of the revolution. One of his goals is to maintain support for democracy in his country.
The irony of the accusation of insulting Islam leveled against the outspoken satirist is that Youssef is said to be a devout Muslim who values the purity of his faith. He does, however, point out the bigotry and hypocrisy of radical clerics and their supporters.
Moderate Muslims and others who share Youssef’s interpretations of Islam face an uphill battle in their quest because the tenets of the religion as expressed through Muhammad do favor the extreme aspects of its structure.
Much like Barack Obama when it comes to criticism, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has a thin skin. While he publicly expresses freedom of speech, especially to western media, Morsi is not inclined to take negative comments lightly.
Despite holding the most powerful position in the country, Morsi has a low tolerance fro outspoken positions such as those advocated by Youssef. Some analysts believe that the strict law making such disapproving rhetoric a crime could easily be employed to silence Morsi’s detractors. While the experts sense that Youssef may have already crossed the line, he also possesses the advantage of a powerful following.
On the third count regarding the spread of false news with the aim of disrupting public order, Jon Stewart underestimates the strength of his own influence as well as that of Youssef. According to Stewart, he does nothing more than reflect the mores of society on any given day and comment upon them. In Stweart’s world he has little power to influence his audience.
With the increasing popularity of social media and its worldwide instantaneous access, no longer are the opinions of commentators such as Stewart and Youssef able to be suppressed. Indeed they do carry significant weight among their followers, even more clout, perhaps, than many traditional news sources.
In that sense, the third charge leveled against Youssef could have more far-reaching implications for Morsi than the comedian might willingly admit. At some point the focus of the second and third violations could merge.
In the end it boils down to a matter of freedom of the press and freedom of speech in post-Mubarak
In an ideal world Morsi would allow free speech and a free press. The fact that he resists only serves to point out the fear, inadequacy and insecurity he senses regardless of the strength of his position.
Unfortunately, Morsi is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, and it is neither in the philosophy nor the nature of that organization to allow the freedoms of expression that would change the face of
Consequently, Bassem Youssef, the Egyptian Jon Stewart, must continue to make his voice heard in the wilderness of the
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