The Egyptian government, run by the Muslim Brotherhood, issued an arrest warrant on Saturday for a television satirist known as the “Egyptian Jon Stewart” for lampooning Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi.
Bassem Youssef, a comedian, hosts a popular weekly show called El Bernameg, or “The Program,” which has been described as being a “platform for lampooning the government, opposition, media and clerics.
Yousef’s lawyer, Gamal Eid, said the warrant is part of a widening campaign by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government to use the prosecution as a “tool” to go after the “regime’s opposition,” including media personalities, activists, and those who publicly criticize Morsi.
Morsi’s attempts to arrest media figures critical of him is part of a broader battle between Morsi and his “Islamist allies in one camp” and “a mostly secular and liberal opposition backed by moderate Muslims, minority Christians and a large segment of women in the other.”
According to reports, Islamist lawyers have frequently sued Youssef for “corrupting morals,” violating “religious principles,” and insulting President Mohammed Morsi. But this is the first time an arrest warrant has been issued.
The Associated Press noted that Yousef said on his Twitter account he will turn himself in on Sunday before sarcastically adding, “Unless they kindly send a police van today and save me the transportation hassle.”