Egyptian Billionaire Naguib Sawiris Faces Trial For Insulting Islam

Forbes 10 January 2012
By Zina Moukheiber

This past June telecom tycoon Naguib Sawiris tweeted a picture of a bearded Mickey Mouse and a veiled Minnie Mouse. It was poor judgment on the part of Sawiris, a Coptic Christian who became heavily involved in politics at the onset of Egypt’s uprisings by forming a liberal political party, The Free Egyptians. He quickly followed with an apology on Twitter: "I apologize for any who don’t take this as a joke. I just thought it was a funny picture. No disrespect meant!”Sawiris has never concealed his disdain for Islamists, but in a region where freedom of speech and religious tolerance are in short supply, the tweet provoked death threats from Muslim extremists. "We will kill him even if he repents,” pronounced one Islamist preacher. A lawyer for the ultra-conservative Islamist groups, knows as Salafis, brought charges against Sawiris for ridiculing Islam. He now faces trial, according to a Sawiris-owned newspaper Al Masry Al Youm. (...)