Egypt MP referred to ethics committee for claimed insults to SCAF head

Ahram Online, Sunday 26 Feb 2012

Ziad El-Eleimy to be grilled by parliamentary ethics committee for alleged insults to Field Marshal Tantawi

The parliament bureau on Sunday referred Parliamentarian Ziad El-Eleimy of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party to parliament’s ethics committee for questioning following accusations that the MP had insulted Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt’s ruling military council, and a prominent Salafist preacher.

El-Eleimy, for his part, has demanded that his remarks about Tantawi be referred to the Arabic Language Academy for interpretation.

The MP's mid-February comments about Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) caused an outcry in parliament after he referenced a famous Egyptian proverb in which Tantawi was allegedly characterised as a “donkey,” considered a grave insult in Arabic culture.

El-Eleimy has staunchly defended his statements, stressing that his use of the proverb was simply meant to imply that the SCAF should be held accountable for its perceived mismanagement of Egypt's post-revolution political scene and for its failure to prevent the 1 February football violence in Port Said Stadium that left dozens dead.

Further stirring controversy, El-Eleimy also allegedly referred to influential Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassan as a "vegetable seller," contentiously asserting that "not everyone with a beard should be regarded as a sheikh."

El-Eleimy has since told parliament that he had personally visited Hassan, who, the MP said, had accepted his comments as legitimate political disagreement.

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