Clearly, law-suits, threats and political pressure isn’t enough to stop Egypt’s leading satirist, Bassem Youssef.
Renowned for mocking the Muslim Brotherhood-backed President, Mohammed Mursi; it seems Youssef now is widening his horizons to target backers of the Islamist group.
This time, he chose to pinpoint Qatar – a known financial backer of the Brotherhood - as a target of one of his political satire sketches.
Playing maestro, Youssef – who is already facing charges of insulting the Egyptian president and Islam – orchestrated a song on the Friday night episode of his comedy show designed to mock the Muslim Brotherhood’s relations with Qatar.
Sang as a parody of the 1960s Egyptian Pan-Arabism opera anthem “My beloved Arab Homeland,” Youssef poked fun at Qatari aid to Egypt.
The lyrics included: “Qatari, how your money fills my land…Qatari, give me more and I’ll be satisfied.”
“Sell your Suez Canal, and take from their [Qatar’s] grace … Sell the pyramids and build another two,” the lyrics went, referring to rumors earlier this year that the Brotherhood had been mulling over whether they should rent Egypt’s historical sites to Qatar.
In a press conference following the Doha summit last month, Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jasim, denied the allegations that his country was “purchasing” the pyramids and the Suez Canal.
“People say we were looking to rent out the pyramids for $200bn, what kind of value for money is this, maybe we’d consider it if it were $2bn” he joked, before saying “how many baseless accusations are made against us?…like the Suez Canal, we have never even considered buying the Suez Canal,” as quoted by comment website Open Democracy.
Youssef’s sketch also pointed out a couple of Qatar’s recent investments and purchases of popular brands, shops and football clubs around the world.
After the sketch, Youssef said that Egyptians “have no problem with the Qatari people,” saying that he respects them, but he is being critical of the Egyptian government that he said considers “selling or renting such crucial sites to foreigners.”
Youssef is renowned for regularly grilling the country’s ruling Islamists on his wildly popular weekly program, Albernameg (The Show), which is modeled on Jon Stewart’s U.S. satirical The Daily Show.
Reactions to the sketch, which has already gone viral since Friday night’s episode, included many Arab Twitter users highly criticizing the oil-rich country, while others supported Qatar and slammed the sketch itself.
Egyptian sports critic Alaa Sadek tweeted saying: “They hate Qatar because they hate Egypt and want Egypt’s destruction,” in reference to Youssef’s show.
“I think Qatar is a rich country and something for Arabs to be proud of and after a few years it will host the World cup and has no time to turn to a comedian,” another Twitter user said.
“Last night’s episode from al-Baranmeg represents all Arab countries. Qatar’s interferences result in the misery of people,” said @deemaah_ksa on Twitter.