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Lebanon Muslim clerics go after comedian over prayers sketch

Openly gay comedian Shaden Fakih has amassed a large online following for her jabs at religious authorities
Lebanese comedian Shaden Fakih.

Lebanese comedian Shaden Fakih. (Photo: Qantara.de)

Published: May 11, 2024 05:17 AM GMT
Updated: May 11, 2024 05:22 AM GMT

Lebanon's Muslim religious authorities have filed complaints against a stand-up comedian and LGBTQ rights activist after a sketch of hers about Friday prayers sparked controversy online.

Openly gay Lebanese comedian Shaden Fakih has amassed a large online following for her jabs at religious authorities and the sectarian factions that have long dominated the country's politics.

But her sometimes crude jokes have also angered many Lebanese, despite the country's reputation as one of the Arab world's most tolerant societies.

On May 10, the Supreme Islamic Shiite Council filed a criminal complaint against Fakih for "the crimes of blasphemy, insulting religious rituals and stirring sectarian... strife," the state-run National News Agency reported.

Islamist lawmaker Imad Hout also filed a complaint against her, NNA said.

On May 9, Lebanon's grand mufti, Sheikh Abdel Latif Derian, ordered top Sunni religious authority Dar al-Fatwa to file a complaint against Fakih for "insult and blasphemy against the divine glory and Prophet Mohammed".

Dar al-Fatwa also accused her of "inciting religious and sectarian strife" and "undermining national unity," NNA said.

A judicial source told AFP the judiciary had not yet looked into the complaints against Fakih because the competent judge was still abroad.

Rights activists expressed outrage that Fakih was being threatened with prosecution for simply expressing her opinions.

"The idea that someone could be arrested... harassed and subjected to death threats just for expressing views that may contradict certain societal norms... is unacceptable," said Jad Shahrour of Beirut's Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom.

In August, Lebanese stand-up Nour Hajjar was briefly arrested over a joke he made five years ago, days after he was detained over another quip.

In 2021, Fakih was summoned by a military court on charges of "insulting" the Internal Security Forces and "harming" their reputation.

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burn the dev!ant b!tch
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