VIDEO: Salafist TV host says Bassem Youssef should wear niqab

Ayman Hafez and Ahram Online, Wednesday 26 Dec 2012

Islamist journalist says satirical TV show host Bassem Youssef should wear a full-face veil since he is 'prettier' than some actresses; Youssef's retort on Twitter drips with funny sarcasm

Bassem Youssef during his show (Photo: Ahram Arabic)

The satirical host of El-Bernameg programme, Bassem Youssef, reacts on his Twitter account to a confounding remark by Islamist Abu Islam Ahmed Abdallah that Youssef (a male) is so "pretty" he should wear a full-face veil, like women.

Youssef, who used the John Stewart show as inspiration for his own TV programme, is on the Salafist radar for making light of politics in Egypt, which is currently dominated by Islamists.

On his programme Hezbollah on the Ummah channel on Sunday night, Abu Islam defended the sheikhs whom Youssef criticised for allegedly using religion to manipulate the population to vote 'Yes' in the referendum on the constitution and for allegedly using the media to lie to the population.

Islamic sheikhs should not be criticised, retorts Abu Islam, because God gave them the right to enlighten people on what is right and what is wrong and that they can judge who will go to heaven and who will go to hell.

Furthermore, Abu Islam says Youssef should cover his face with a niqab, saying he is prettier than actresses like Laila Elwy and Elham Shahin, and called him "Bastard Youssef" repeatedly in Arabic. A common perception among extremely conservative Islamists is that beautiful women should cover their faces.

Youssef tweeted: "All of a sudden I was afraid of turning people on."

"Although I always thought I looked like Aisha Kilany, but I'm happy these sheikhs have fantasies about me and Laila Elwy."

"This video proved the extent to which this whole female minors marriage thing is not a big deal. Men are the ones who should fear for themselves," he continued sarcastically, in reference to the Islamists' push to change the law to allow girls as young as 13 to get married.

"I laughed a lot at these videos and the comments on them. In the end these people are defaming Islam," was Youssef's final tweet that day on the matter, disageeing with their interpretation of Islam.

Lawyers affiliated with Islamist parties filed an official complaint with the prosecutor-general against him and the CBC channel that airs El Bernameg for defaming President Mohamed Morsi in another episode.

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