Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef commented on Republic frontrunner Donald Trump's anti-Muslim statements on Thursday, telling CNN that the billionaire “hates Muslims unless they have very deep pockets.”
Trump's call earlier this week for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States caused controversy, and have been rejected by many public figures, including senior Republicans and the White House.
Youssef, speaking to CNN under the tagline "the Jon Stewart of the Middle East," said that Trump is attempting to drive “a narrative of hate and racism through people.”
He argued that it was fallacious to hold a group of people responsible for the actions of a few. “Can Christianity have a bad reputation because of the abortion clinic and Planned Parenthood bombing?” he asked.
“There are stupid people and jerks in every religion,” he said.
Youssef, whose weekly show on Egyptian television was cancelled in 2014, said that he had his problems with the Islamist regime ruling Egypt prior to 2013, but that his show was in fact cancelled by the “regime that removed the Islamic regime.”
“We have a problem with democracy in general in the Middle East, and there’s not only Islamic fascism but also military fascism,” he said.
Trump’s comments were met with disdain and criticism across the world.
His name and image were removed from a multi-billion-dollar development on the outskirts of Dubai.
Some of his deals appear to be in jeopardy, with the company behind Trump Towers Istanbul now saying it is "assessing" its partnership with the businessman.