Some people criticized Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef this week for “insulting Islam” after hosting a band whose lead singer is gay.
However, Youssef said it was not was his place to ask about his guests’ sexual orientation.
In a live interview with Huffington Post’s Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Youssef said that it is “ridiculous” critics would condemn him for allegedly misrepresenting Islam because he hosted on his show on Friday a Lebanese band, Mashrou Leila.
Hamed Sinno, the group’s lead singer, had previously announced that he was gay. However, the issue was not brought up during the band’s segment on Youssef’s show, “Al Bernameg.”
“I heard their song, and I didn’t ask about their [sexual] orientation,” said Youssef. “We invited them and they came… I did not check [Sinno’s] background.”
Shihab-Eldin told Al Arabiya English that he interviewed Youssef on the topic of homosexuality because the political satire comedian was accused of “giving [homosexuals] a platform” on his show.
“It’s a popular band being heard all over the place,” Youssef told Shihab-Eldin.
“They will try to dig out anything to alienate you in front of the people, whether it is religion or America,” said the comedian.
“I’m a proud practicing Muslim, and I would hate to see my religion high-jacked by people who think they are holier than us.”
Youssef’s weekly satire show “Al Bernameg,” which first launched on YouTube last year, now attracts more than 30 million viewers across the Middle East.
Last month, Egypt’s public prosecutor summoned the popular TV host Bassem Youssef, calling for him to be brought in for alleged insults he made against Islam and Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Due to a technical glitch, an un-edited version of this article was published on Al Arabiya English with the headline (Hosting gay guests is no ‘insult to Islam,’ says Egyptian satirist).
The un-edited version has been removed and replaced with the proof-read, edited version above. The headline was rectified to (Gay guests? 'I didn't ask for their sexual orientation,' Youssef tells Huff Post Live).
Al Arabiya English apologizes for any inconvenience caused by this technical issue.