One of Egypt’s richest men will stand trial for blasphemy after tweeting cartoons of Mickey and Minnie Mouse wearing conservative Muslim attire.
Telecom mogul and Coptic Christian Naguib Sawiris tweeted the images on Twitter last June, but a formal complaint against him by a group of Muslim attorneys has only recently been referred to an Egyptian court. Sawiris' trial is set for Jan. 14, a blog reported.
The image shows Mickey Mouse wearing a traditional Islamic robe with a full beard, while Minnie Mouse is wearing a niqab – a full-face veil – with just her eyes showing. It's identifiable because of the ears, and the large pink bow. Sawiris took down the photo after a storm of protest and threats to boycott his businesses, including his mobile phone company.
Sawiris also apologized on Twitter, saying he meant no offense and was passing it along as a joke.
I apologise for any who don't take this as a joke , I just thought it was a funny picture no disrespect meant! Assef!!
— Naguib Sawiris (@NaguibSawiris) June 24, 2011
Tensions between Egypt’s Muslims and minority Christian community have worsened in recent months. In October, some 24 protesters, mostly Coptic Christians, were killed in clashes with security forces.