A recurring theme these days seems to be predominantly Muslim countries jailing individuals for comments or actions deemed to have been insulting to Islam. It must be tough to be a comedian in the Arab world with such a central topic off-limits.
Last fall I mentioned that an Egyptian court sentenced Ayman Yusef Mansur to three years jail, with hard labor, because “intentionally insulted the dignity of the Islamic religion and attacked it with insults and ridicule on Facebook.” Then, since the start of this year, both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have arrested men for blaspheming the prophet Muhammad on Twitter (here and here).
A Cairo court upholds a three-month jail sentence for Egyptian film star and the Arab world’s most famous comedian, Adel Imam, on charges of insulting Islam, Al Arabiya TV reported on Monday….
The 71-year-old celebrity said that among the works criticized are the 1994 production “al-Irhabi” (The Terrorist), in which he portrays an Islamic fundamentalist and the play “al-Zaeem” (The Leader), a comedy in which Imam pokes fun at the region’s autocratic leaders.
That’s from Al Arabiya, via the Volokh Conspiracy, which mentions that another prominent Egyptian “is facing similar charges of defaming Islam after he posted pictures of Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in Muslim attire on Twitter.”