Egyptian prosecution summons 'Sheikh Jackson' star El-Fishawy for questioning over 'contempt of religion'

Menna Alaa El-Din , Sunday 19 Nov 2017

Sheikh Jackson (Photo: still from the film)

A Cairo prosecution has summoned actor Ahmed El-Fishawy for questioning over accusations of “contempt of religion” in his recent movie Sheikh Jackson, according to Al-Ahram Arabic news website.

The complaint against El-Fishawy was filed by a lawyer who accused the 37-year-old actor and the filmmakers of "defaming Islam."

The film was made by well-known director Amr Salama and was released in select theatres in Egypt last September.

Its events take place on the day of US pop star Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, and centres on a sheikh who was dubbed "Jackson" by his friends during his schooldays.

The story explores the emotions stirred in the protagonist by the pop star's death, which raises a series of existential questions.

The movie, which stars El-Fishawy, Ahmed Malek, Maged El-Kedwany and Amina Khalil, was nominated to represent Egypt in the foreign films section at the Oscars 2018.

The complaint alleges that El-Fishawy depicts clerics as having extremist thoughts, and that followers of “contemporary doctrines” are superior to rigid clerics.

“This work defames Egypt – the country of Al-Azhar – as a whole,” the complaint said, citing a scene from the movie where El-Fishawy was leading dawn prayers when Michael Jackson appears dancing inside the mosque.

If the film is selected by the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in January, it will be the first Egyptian movie to make it to the final selection in the Oscars' foreign films category.

Salama chose not to comment on the allegations when approached by Ahram Online. 

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