Billionaire Sawiris Says Egypt Risks Becoming Iran

· Egypt
Authors

Source / Courtesy: Bloomberg

From his 33rd-floor penthouse apartment with sweeping views of the Nile River, Naguib Sawiris, Egypt’s best-known billionaire and most prominent Christian, can hear the chants of Friday prayers in the distance. As he sits down to a breakfast of taameya and ful, dishes made from fava beans, demonstrators are gathering in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for a planned protest, this time aimed at stopping military trials of thousands of civilians arrested during the revolution that brought down the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.

Sawiris says his new political party, the Free Egyptians, is backing the demonstration, although he won’t be attending, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its December issue.

“I would love to go, but the problem is, my life is threatened,” he says.

The death threats started in late June after Sawiris, 57, posted an image on his Twitter account of Mickey Mouse in a beard and Minnie Mouse in a niqab, or full veil. The cartoon, sent to him by a Muslim friend after circulating in the blogosphere, was titled “Mickey and Minnie after …” — meaning after Egypt’s November parliamentary elections, in which a September poll suggested Islamist parties would win the biggest share of the vote.

Sawiris thought it was funny. Muslims accused him of mocking their religion.

Sawiris, the founder of Orascom Telecom Holding SAE, apologized to his 139,000 Twitter followers, saying he meant no disrespect. That wasn’t enough to prevent a boycott of mobile phone company MobiNil, a joint venture between Orascom andFrance Telecom SA, which lost 800,000 subscribers in the months following the tweet.

It also prompted a televised rant on July 7 by Islamist preacher Abu-Ishaq al-Huwaini, accusing people like Sawiris of insulting the Prophet Mohammed. “We will kill him even if he repents,” Huwaini shouted.

Read more:

1 Comment

Comments RSS
  1. Zia H. Shah

    Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a strong proponent of separation of Mosque-Church and State.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: