Radio and Television Maspero building in Cairo - FILE
CAIRO - 21 October 2020: An old video of a stand up comedian making fun of the radio veterans at al-Quran al-Karim station that dates back to January resurfaced on social media, sparking outrage.
Comedian Mohamed Ashraf tried to immitate the enunciation and elocution of Quran Karim station announcers and hosts, who speak in flawless classical Arabic. The station broadcasts supplications and parts of Quran recited by famous and much loved sheikhs, as well as programs answering people's questions in religion and other shows on the life of Muslims as well as religious and historical topics.
The attack on Ashraf has been significant online.
"I was surprised to see it spreading especially on the pages of Brotherhood [members] and to find threats and slurs to the extent of threatening my wife. But I was only immitating the manner of speech," Ashraf told Youm7 Tuesday.
"They said I was a heretic, but I did not mock religion, I immitated human beings in their way of speaking. I could immitate other regular hosts, why did they link religion to my performance?" he said.
The video dates back to January, but Muslim Brotherhood channels broadcast it in another attempt to "prove" that the authorities post late President Mohamed Morsi allow and encourage the contempt of Islam, in hopes that any of such attempts will spark outrage among the Muslim majority country.
In the video, Ashraf changes his voice from the "bad cop" to the "good cop" to refer to the technique in which the station's announcers speak as professional radio hosts since the establishment of the station in 1964.
However, the support for the popular station has also been significant online, with nostalgic commentators saying they were raised listening to the radio station at home, shops or means of transportation.
The National Media Authority said Wednesday it would pursue legal measures against Ashraf, but news about any procedures have emerged thus far. The Quran Karim radio station Facebook page only thanked its followers for their love and support.
The incident has also led to the re-emergence of videos of the station's most prominent announcer Reda Abdel Salam, who has worked at Quran Karim station since 1986 and millions of people are accustomed to his unique voice.
Abdel Salam was born with a limb defect that manifested in both his arms and his younger life was spent at a time when there was no awarness about disabilities and the rights of disable people. He still found a way into the Egyptian Radio and Television Maspero with his flawless Arabic and calm voice, and whenever he is invited to a show, he highlights the issues of disabled people. The videos of Abdel Salam resurfacing has made fans of Quran Karim radio have more respect for the station.
For his part, Ashraf said "I was raised to listen to Quran Karim station, and it really was on 24/7 at our home. I did not insult anyone and did not even come close to religion in my act," the comedian added.
He apoligized about the video saying he only wanted to impart joy, adding "I am still at the beginning of my life, why would I present something that would make people hate me?"