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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