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Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Egyptian artist Ganzeer denies 'fictitious' Brotherhood claim

Ganzeer condemns 'shocking' and 'fictitious' allegation that he is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, demands apology from TV presenter Osama Kamal

Ahram Online, Sunday 18 May 2014
Kasr El Nil Graffiti
Collective work by various graffiti artists including Ganzeer on Kasr El-Nil Street (Photo: Rowan El Shimi)
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Egyptian artist Ganzeer has denied being affiliated to the banned Muslim Brotherhood and has demanded a public apology from the television presenter who made the allegation.

During his TV show on Friday 9 May, Osama Kamal read out parts of a Guardian newspaper article about Egyptian and international graffiti artists creating works critical of presidential contender Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

He then accused Ganzeer of being affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The artist replied via his blog, with posts in Arabic and English, condemning the statements.

"On Friday, May 9th, a television show called “Al-Raees Wel Nas” (The President and the People), hosted by TV personality Osama Kamal, accused me of being recruited by the Muslim Brotherhood. As you may already know, the Muslim Brotherhood has been officially designated as a terrorist organisation by the state of Egypt," Ganzeer said.

"Those accused of being affiliated with The Brotherhood are being sentenced to death in mass trials. Needless to say, these are very serious accusations, ones that should not be thrown around so lightly. Mr. Osama Kamal’s accusations are as much a mockery of journalism as recent trials in Egyptian courts are a mockery of justice."

Kamal admitted Ganzeer had previously created art critical of the Islamist group but added, "It is clear now that he is collaborating with the Brotherhood."

Kamal falsely claimed The Guardian article says the Brotherhood was behind a campaign against El-Sisi which includes these artists as well as other politicians and public figures.

Ganzeer's photo appeared as the backdrop to the show.

Kamal also shared the artist's real name and questioned whether these artists should be left to “do as they please.”

Ganzeer wrote in his blog post: "What does come as shocking to me, however, is that Mr. Osama would so confidently jump to the false conclusion that I am affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. In his report, he claimed that “Political Analysts” say that I am affiliated with the Brotherhood."

"He did not refrain from mentioning my name, and showing my picture, but he did not mention the name of one actual political analyst who has drawn this outlandish conclusion. This leads me to believe that said “Political Analysts” do not exist, and that the false conclusions drawn are Mr. Osama’s alone. Being anti-Sisi in itself is not a crime. So I guess Mr. Osama thought it necessary to attach a fictitious crime to my name."

The artist ended his post by demanding a public apology from Kamal on his next television show, and called for the owner of Al-Qahira Wal Nas channel, Tarek Nour, to cancel the show.

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