'Muslim Mickey' Causes a Furor

Muslims in Egypt have called a boycott against the Christian businessman who “insulted” Islam by dressing Mickey up in Muslim garb.

David Lev , | updated: 8:14 PM

mickey muslim
mickey muslim

While Hamas had no problem drafting Mickey Mouse – thinly disguised as “Farfur” the mouse – to indoctrinate toddlers in Gaza to join the jihad against Israel, Muslims in Egypt have called a boycott against the Christian Copt owner of a communications company who “insulted” Islam by dressing Mickey up in Muslim garb.

Fifteen lawyers are suing businessman Naguib Sawiris for publicizing a photo of Mickey Mouse wearing a white robe and a beard, together with an image of Minnie Mouse wearing a full-face veil. The lawyers, along with dozens of Muslim clerics, have called for Egyptians to cut their contracts with Sawiris' Mobinil and Orascom cellphone companies.

Islamists, many from the ultraconservative Salafi sect, have opened numerous Facebook pages calling for a boycott. "If you’re a real Muslim ... boycott his (Sawiris’) products if you love your religion. We have to cut the tongue of any person who attacks our religion,” says the page of one group.

Other groups, with titles like “We Hate You Mickey Sawiris,” have garnered thousands of page views for their sites. In a television interview, top Muslim cleric Mazen el-Sersawi accused Sawaris of fomenting tension between Muslims and Coptic Christians, who have clashed on numerous occasions in recent months, leaving dozens wounded and several dead. "How can a man like this make fun of Muslims, in a country on the brink of sectarian discord," el-Sersawi said in the interview.

Sawaris, for his part, issued an apology via his Twitter account, writing, "I apologize for those who don’t take this as a joke. I just thought it was a funny picture; no disrespect meant! I’m sorry.” Speaking Sunday at a meeting of political activists, Sawaris added, "We should not limit Islam to a beard or veil.”

 The apology has not calmed tensions, however, and a protest outside Orascom headquarters is planned for later this week. Naguib Sawaris' family is considered one of the wealthiest in Egypt. Sawaris was very active in the campaign to oust Hosni Mubarak; an avowed secularist, he founded the Free Egyptian political party, which plans to run in the upcoming elections.