Second Mickey Mouse lawsuit falls on deaf ears

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Bearded Mickey

Bearded Mickey

The second of two lawsuits against Christian media mogul Naguib Sawaris over a cartoon of Mickey and Minnie Mouse in conservative Muslim guise was dismissed Saturday by a Cairo court, Egyptian state media reported.

Ultra-conservative Islamist lawyer and parliamentarian Mamduh Ismail, who filed the complaint against the head of Orascom Telecom, told Agence France-Presse that he would appeal the latest decision.

The judge of the Cairo misdemeanor court ruled that the plaintiff was ineligible to file the religious defamation lawsuit. He sent the case back to the state prosecutor’s office for further investigation.

Sawiris, also the founder of a liberal party, reposted on Twitter a cartoon of a bearded, turbaned Mickey and girlfriend in a niqab, the face veil worn by fundamentalist Muslim women.

It was a humorous reference to the possible effect of a takeover of the country by Islamists, who now control parliament. However, Sawiris was forced to apologize following calls for a boycott of Mobinil, his cell phone service provider.

Another court dismissed a similar complaint against Sawaris last week.

In his ruling, the judge fined the plaintiff, hard-line lawyer Ali Dergham, slightly under $10 for the court’s time. The cartoon did not do any harm to the plaintiff, the judge said.

Lawmaker Mamdouh Ismail filed a complaint to the attorney-general’s office about the cartoon. An adherent of the fundamentalist Salafi sect of Islam, he repeated his contention Saturday that the cartoon was offensive and harmful.

“He posted caricatures mocking Islam, and we see this as a contempt of Islam,” Ismail said.

Sawiris used his Twitter account once again Saturday to say how grateful he is for the ruling.

“I thank God for this ruling because I feel that there is still hope,” he wrote. “Congratulations to an open, free and smiling Egypt that respects all religions.”

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About Paul Anderson

Paul is an old-timer here at BCDB- his contributions go back to before the site! Paul is widely regarded as a Disney historian, and is also on staff at the Disney Museum in San Francisco. Paul is also a contributing historian for D23, the Disney Club. Paul has published several books and magazine articles on Disney history, too. You are welcome to drop Paul a line here.

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