The Arrest of an Egyptian Television Satirist

A dust-up broke out earlier this week between the U.S. State Department and the Muslim Brotherhood over the arrest of Egyptian television satirist Bassem Youssef on charges of insulting Islam and insulting Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohamed Morsi.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Youssef’s arrest, “coupled with recent arrest warrants issued for other political activists, is evidence of a disturbing trend of growing restrictions on the freedom of expression.”

It’s about time that the Obama administration opened its mouth about the spiraling authoritarianism of Morsi’s Islamist regime, to which the United States is giving over a billion dollars of financial aid as well as F-16 fighters and tanks. But even the State Department’s mild rebuke was too much for Morsi’s friends in the Muslim Brotherhood. It unleashed a barrage of tweets denouncing the United States for condoning the insult of Islam and interfering in the domestic concerns of the Egyptian nation.

Here is a sampling endorsed by the Ikhwanweb, the Muslim Brotherhood’s official English website, which states that “Our tweets represent official Muslim Brotherhood’s opinions”:

“#FJP: We strongly condemn @StateDept statements, which means USG is welcoming & condoning defamation of religion by some in Egyptian media”

“#FJP: Defaming religion allegation is a serious offense, a violation of Egyptian law, culture & values, and a threat to societal peace”

“#FJP criticizes USG statements on @DrBassemYoussef onging investigations, calling it flagrant meddling in #Egypt’ domestic affairs”

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, denounced Victoria Nuland on its facebook page, accusing her of “unreserved audacity” and “blatant interference in the internal affairs of Egypt on an issue that is still under investigation.”

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo ducked for cover by shutting down its own Twitter feed temporarily after the Egyptian government criticized the embassy feed for linking to satiric commentary by the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, Bassem Youssef’s idol and role model, critiquing Yousseef’s arrest.  When the Cairo embassy’s Twitter feed went back up, the tweet with the link to the Daily Show commentary was deleted. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Nuland, while standing by her own remarks, supported the embassy’s decision to remove the tweet that had angered the Egyptian government and its Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

The Obama administration needs to push back against Egyptian President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood cohorts more aggressively.  It can start by telling Morsi publicly to mind his own business with regard to the incarceration of Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, the blind convicted terrorist who was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and plotting to bomb other New York sites.

Morsi has demanded the terrorist’s release to Egyptian custody. “What I want is to intervene for humanitarian reasons,” he said. He shouldn’t be “intervening” in the U.S. justice system for any reason, least of all “humanitarian” concern for a terrorist with innocents’ blood on his hands.

The Muslim Brotherhood also wants to tell us how to interpret and apply our Constitution’s First Amendment protections for freedom of expression.  Reacting to the video last year that depicted Islam and its Prophet Mohammed in an unfavorable light, the Muslim Brotherhood said on its website:

The repeated abuse of the Messenger of God indicate the presence of hatred and bigotry in those who stand behind it, with ignorance, connivance and indulgence in those who permit such persistent abuse.

Thus hurting the feelings of one and a half billion Muslims cannot be tolerated, and the people’s anger and fury for their Faith is invariably predictable, often unstoppable.

We denounce abuse of all Messengers of God, Prophets and Apostles, and condemn this heinous crime. We further call for criminalization of assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions.

Otherwise, such acts will continue to cause devout Muslims across the world to suspect and even loathe the West, especially the USA, for allowing their citizens to violate the sanctity of what they hold dear and holy. Hence, we demand that all those involved in such crimes be urgently brought to trial.

Certainly, such attacks against sanctities do not fall under the freedom of opinion or thought. They are crimes and assaults against Muslim sanctities, and must not be tolerated by the countries where they are produced or launched, since they are also detrimental to the interests of those countries in dealings with the peoples of the Muslim world.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood cronies have no problem telling us that we must criminalize free expression if it offends their sensibilities, even though such criminalization would be contrary to our most deeply held values of liberty and freedom of thought.  But shame on the U.S. State Department for even mildly suggesting that the Egyptian regime’s arrest and punishment of satirists or journalists for speaking their mind are evidence of a “disturbing trend.” If that is the way that Morsi and his friends want to play, then perhaps our money could find better uses than propping up his Islamist regime – starting with opening up the White House again to public tours.

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  • Alvaro

    These people feel superior and think we are worthless. It makes sense that they get worked into a frenzy about anyone pointing their finger at them, while they themselves think it is fair to insult and intimidate everone else. This supremacist ideology is at the very spine of the religion.

    • defcon 4

      For every accusatory finger muslimes point at others, a thousand accusatory fingers point back at them.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Most Orwellian-like, it is the State Dept (with assists from the White House) who installed the Brotherhood Mafia into power in Egypt. As such, it is quite a hoot that they are calling them to task. As if – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/11/07/spotlight-on-

    Mind you, Huma Abedin, Hill's Deputy COS, is part of the Saudi "Sisterhood" branch, but make no mistake, they operate in concert. Therefore, for the State Dept to feign that they care about the jailing of a tv satirist, while the deepest Muslim Brotherhood plant has been within its bowels, well, some might call that chutzpah! Balderdash too.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • Michael Copeland

    Islam itself is the source of the “unfavourable light” in which it and Mohammed are accurately shown. The video relies faithfully on Islam’s own source texts.
    See Usama Dakdok on Youtube.

  • Michael Copeland

    Yes, “flagrant meddling in #Egypt’ domestic affairs” is too bad. Much better not to send $1.5 bn, tanks, and F-16 fighters.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Yes, “flagrant meddling in #Egypt’ domestic affairs” is too bad. Much better not to send $1.5 bn, tanks, and F-16 fighters."

      That has always been the "meddling" that infuriates me. And certain statements from certain appeasers-in-chief.

  • Michael Copeland

    Wait a minute now, “all heavenly religions”?

    “There is no such thing as a Christian religion”, says Cleric Hisham el-Ashri, founder of Egypt’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. http://www.JihadWatch.com 3 Mar 2013.

    “..it is unbelief (kufr) to hold that the remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions, such as “Christianity” and “Judaism” are acceptable to Allah”, says the Manual of Islamic Law.

    Some clarification needed, FJP

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “all heavenly religions”?

      "Some clarification needed, FJP"

      I'm sure you know that means sharia standards. That means all prophets are "Muslims." It means only Islam will be protected just as the caliph would order.

  • Michael Copeland

    We can’t have a TV satirist put in prison, now, can we, Hillary?

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "Thus hurting the feelings of one and a half billion Muslims cannot be tolerated, and the people’s anger and fury for their Faith is invariably predictable, often unstoppable."

    That sounds like a declaration of war to me.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "We further call for criminalization of assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions."

    This is a call to sharia in case the clueless need some…clues that is.

    • defcon 4

      Canada has answered that call!

  • Len_Powder

    "U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Youssef’s arrest, “coupled with recent arrest warrants issued for other political activists, is evidence of a disturbing trend of growing restrictions on the freedom of expression.”

    This comment is an obvious message to the Egyptian government to not continue marching down the road to totalitarian restrictions and impositions on its population. After all, the 'Arab Spring' was a liberating movement against dictatorship and the suppression of human rights!

    But the comment is also an expression of the Obama administration's naivete in not recognizing the Muslim Brotherhood for the Islamofascist movement that it is or that its ultimate purpose is to impose a totalitarian system called 'Sharia' on its citizens. Of course, Democrats and Liberals automatically embrace anyone who does not recognize individualism and personal rights not explicitly granted and approved by the government, so the alliance between the Obama Regime and the Morsi regime are quite understandable. Once you've slept in the same guilty bed together you are pretty much bound together for better or worse.

    • defcon 4

      That last paragraph is interesting in light of the fact of Obama's emetic comment at the UN: "There must be no future for those who slander the prophet of islam."

  • Len_Powder

    "Thus hurting the feelings of one and a half billion Muslims cannot be tolerated, and the people’s anger and fury for their Faith is invariably predictable, often unstoppable."

    It is this absurd and pathetically stupid pronouncement which explains why the world will one day explode and be annihilated by the lunacy of this religion and its adherents. There is no cure for this condition. The condition will produce its own elimination by universal destruction.

  • Peri Vitton

    I think he should be severely punished that can be a lesson for others.

    storm windows replacement

  • JacksonPearson

    A constant reminder:
    ISLAM: The Religion of Peace (and a big stack of dead bodies)
    Islamic Terrorists Have Carried Out More Than 20,644 Deadly Terror
    Attacks Since 9/11. Source: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

    Wherever Islam Spread, are followed by Darkness, Death and Destruction

    • WilliamJamesWard

      People are still ignorant in America, distracted by the need to survive financially and
      keep up with and entertainment mania that the MSM continues 24/7 to keep everyone
      they can in a fantasy world. Unfortunate as it is they will continue in la la land while
      the people they pay to govern change thier future to one absent of real freedom and
      comfortable for themselves and our enemies. Obama knows what he is about in Egypt
      and coordinates his depredations with the Muslim Brotherhood……………..William

      • defcon 4

        But why are they ignorant? Could it be because the enemedia and public educational institutions (from elementary school all the way up to universities of "higher" learning) are serving up a platter of lies about islam and calling it truth? Could it be because corrupt politicians are cooking up the same lies?

        • WilliamJamesWard

          Absolutely……………….they are all playing us in thier grand design of subversion
          and destruction while looting the wealth of the Nation and maligning the future of
          our posterity. Someone needs to get serious about these criminal elites, they are
          rotten to the core and are out for our total destruction and enslavement…………William

  • Ghostwriter

    Hopefully John Stewart will make a big deal of this on his show.

  • Ghostwriter

    Hopefully John Stewart will make a big deal of this on his show.