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Egypt court rejects cases against Christian media mogul

Cairo, Sun, 04 Mar 2012 ANI

Cairo, Mar 4(ANI): An Egyptian court has rejected the second of two lawsuits filed by ultra-conservative Islamists that had accused a Christian media mogul of insulting Islam when he relayed a cartoon of Mickey Mouse with a beard and Minnie in a face veil.


The judge ruled the plaintiff was not eligible to file the religious defamation lawsuit and sent the case back to the state prosecutor's office for further investigation.


The first lawsuit was rejected by a different court earlier this week on similar grounds.


The businessman, Naguib Sawiris, expressed relief on the court's decision on his Twitter account.


"I thank God for this ruling because I feel that there is still hope. Congratulations to an open, free and smiling Egypt that respects all religions," Fox News quoted his tweet, as saying.


Sawiris had angered Muslim hardliners by relaying the Mickey and Minnie cartoons in bread and face veil. He had later apologized for his drawing, but that did not deter some from pursuing legal action.


The cases highlight the newfound sense of empowerment among followers of the ultraconservative Salafi trend of Islam in Egypt since the ouster of longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak last year in a popular uprising.


A religious rights researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Ishak Ibrahim, admitted his country's vaguely defined blasphemy laws allow anyone who disagrees with someone's beliefs to approach the courts to prosecute the concerned person.


"People come and try you because of your belief or your expression of that belief," Ibrahim said. (ANI)


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