Coptic Tycoon Still in Islamist Crosshairs
Egypt's Coptic billionaire and tycoon Naguib Sawiris beat one case, but faces another for 'insulting religion' via Twitter
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 2/28/2012, 7:25 PM
An Egyptian court on Tuesday dismissed a case filed against a prominent Coptic Christian tycoon accused of insulting Islam.
The court said the plaintiff had no legal standing to bring the case against telecommunications magnate Naguib Sawiris for posting a cartoon of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in conservative Islamic dress.
Sawiris, the head of Orascom Telecom who and founder of the liberal Free Egyptians party, had reposted the cartoon on Twitter and joked that the cartoon characters would be forced to wear a long beard and a face veil if Islamists took power.
Sawiris later apologized for the posting.
The plaintiff was fined 50 Egyptians pounds (about eight dollars) for filing the case.
However, the official MENA news agency reported another trial for Sawiris on the same charge of 'insulting religion' was expected to reach a verdict on March 3.
The plaintiff in that case is MP Mamduh Ismail, an Islamist lawyer for the ultra-conservative Salafi Al-Nour party.
Al-Nour came second to the Islamist but more moderate Freedom and Justice Party in a three-round election that began in November, leaving parliament with an Islamist majority for the first time in Egypt’s history.
The liberal coalition that included Sawiris’s Free Egyptians party won around 15 percent of the vote.