An Egyptian court has rejected the second of two lawsuits brought by ultra-conservative Islamists accusing a Christian media mogul of insulting Islam when he put a cartoon online of Mickey Mouse with a beard and Minnie in a face veil.
The judge ruled the plaintiff was not eligible to file the religious defamation lawsuit and sent the case back to the state prosecutor’s office for further investigation. The first lawsuit was thrown out by a different court earlier this week on similar grounds.
Mogul Naguib Sawiris used his Twitter account – the same way he spread the original images – to express relief.
“I thank Allah for this ruling because I feel that there is still hope,” he wrote. “Congratulations to an open, free and smiling Egypt that respects all religions.”
Mr Sawiris angered Muslim hard-liners in June by relaying the Mickey and Minnie cartoon, which parodied the growing influence of Islamists in Egypt.
Mr Sawiris tweeted an apology and removed the post after the uproar among conservatives, but that did not deter some from pursuing legal action.
The cases are one of many brought by conservative lawyers in recent months seeking to punish individuals they deem as having offended Islam.
The debate surrounding such cases highlights the newfound sense of empowerment among followers of the ultra-conservative Salafi trend of Islam in Egypt since the ousting of long-time authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak last year in a popular uprising.