Following anti-Islam film row, lawyer files suit to block YouTube in Egypt

Yasmine Fathi , Tuesday 18 Sep 2012

Lawyer Mohamed Hamed Salem takes legal action aimed at having YouTube blocked in Egypt until all anti-Islam content is removed from leading video-sharing website

 block YouTube in Egypt
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An Egyptian lawyer filed a lawsuit on Tuesday aimed at blocking YouTube in Egypt until all anti-Islamic content is removed from the video-sharing website, which is owned by internet-services giant Google.

Appeals lawyer Mohamed Hamed Salem said he decided to file the lawsuit after YouTube featured the 13-minute film – 'The Innocence of Muslims' – that led to a wave of instability across the Muslim world last week and left two dead in Egypt.

Salem filed the lawsuit against Egypt’s prime minister; Egypt's minister of information, communications and IT; and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

"Not only has YouTube insisted on showing the original movie, but now there are at least 50 different videos showing various clips of the film," said Salem. "We need to block YouTube in Egypt because this would be a robust response, and we need a robust response so that what happened is not repeated again."

According to Salem, videos that include anti-Islamic content only serve to provoke Muslims and incite sectarian tension and violence. He asserted that the film was directed at Muslim children with the intention of distorting their image of the Muslim prophet.

"If a six-year-old Muslim child is shown this video by his friends, it will have a strong impact on him," Salem explained. "It will distort the image of Prophet Mohamed in his mind, and there will be nothing that his mother and father can do to correct that."

Salem went on to stress that if such videos continued to appear on the internet they would inevitably have a negative impact on Muslims all over the world.

"If we don't stop these videos, they will only appear with increasing frequency," Salem said.

He also dismissed recent claims that YouTube also featured hundreds of videos offensive to other religions, including Christianity and Judaism.

"These claims aren't true," he insisted. "They don't allow any videos insulting to Jews."

Earlier this week, Muslim Brotherhood member Hassan El-Brins called for a one-month boycott of Google to protest the latter's refusal to remove the offensive film from YouTube.

The Egyptian Association for Legal Development and the Ufuk Association for Development, two NGOs, both filed additional lawsuits on Tuesday aimed at blocking Google in Egypt.

Salem, however, said that blocking the California-based IT powerhouse – which purchased YouTube in 2006 –was not feasible.

"Blocking Google would be impossible to apply," he said. "Blocking YouTube, however, would be much more practicable."

Salem has previously filed several controversial lawsuits, including one that resulted in a ban on the 'Egypt Today' talk show hosted by anti-revolution figure Tawfiq Okasha. Salem has also filed a lawsuit to demand that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s two sons by stripped of their Egyptian citizenship since they also hold US nationality.

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