Cairo (AsiaNews) - "The atmosphere of terror created by Muslim Brotherhood does not only affect opposition parties and media, but touches all the Egyptians who do not think like the Islamists," said Nagui Damian speaking to AsiaNews.
For the young Coptic Catholic, who played a leading role in the Jasmine Revolution, the recent crackdown by Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah against the media represents an authoritarian move by the government to intimidate and gag every Egyptian ahead of upcoming elections in July
Preceded in recent weeks by the arrest by the military of dozens of activists in Cairo and Alexandria, out in protest against the law limiting demonstrations, this has reached a crescendo with the indictment of famous TV host Bassem Youssef (pictured). Meanwhile, the Islamist-dominated Shura Council yesterday voted to allow religious slogans during the election campaign.
"The Muslim Brotherhood is doing everything possible to hold onto power," said Nagui Damian, whilst the "economic and institutional crisis of recent years has been driving more and more people towards the ideals of the revolution. Now farm workers in Upper Egypt are also protesting against the Islamists. Even the least educated of them have stopped believing in the president's statements, always blaming the country's problems on the men of Mubarak's old regime.
According to the young man, the media crackdown and glowing praise of religion are a way to prevent people from knowing the true face of Mohamed Morsi and his allies.
Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah went after Bassem Youssef, Egypt's best-known satirist, for insulting the president on his TV show el Bernameg. Taken into custody last Sunday, Youssef was released after spending five hours at the public prosecutor's office and posting bail for US$ 2,200.
Police sources said that Abdallah was preparing more charges against the satirist, including the charge of constituting a threat to public security.
Considered Egypt's Jon Stewart, Youssef has been a controversial figure for Egyptian and foreign media.
Opposition activists and party leaders are concerned about President Morsi's government authoritarianism. In recent months, the president has appointed cronies to national and local courts.
After the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, the satirist has repeatedly criticised in his show the president and the country's slide towards Islamism, which attracts more than 30 million viewers.
His humour and the support it has generated have not gone unnoticed. TV channels operated by Salafists have started a vitriolic campaign against the satirist, who is Christian by origin.
His satire has led to charges of blasphemy, denigrating Islam, and insulting President Mohamed Morsi, accusations that he has always rejected as specious and false. (S.C.)