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EGYPT: Anwar Sadat's daughter sues information minister over Hollywood movie

August 6, 2009 | 10:02 am

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Rokaya Sadat, elder daughter of the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, claims the memory of her father has been sullied by a Hollywood film that has named a dog after him. Sadat has filed a lawsuit against Minister of Information Anas Fekki for allowing the release of the "I Love you, Man" in Egyptian cinemas.

The movie, which stars Paul Rudd and was released in the U.S. in late March, has been showing in Egypt for three weeks. Sadat has demanded the immediate halting of its screening and the confiscation of all copies until a judgment is reached regarding her suit.

One of the film's main characters calls his dog Anwar El Sadat. In one scene, when asked if he chose the name because of Sadat's political views, the character responds by saying that the dog merely looks like the former president, who was assassinated by Islamic radicals in 1981. The movie's credits also contains Sadat's name as himself/the dog.

Despite omitting the scene from the version currently playing in Egyptian cinemas, many pundits believe that it should have never been shown in this country.

"Any artist is allowed to criticize public figures and men in power like current and ex-presidents, but it is totally unacceptable to insult someone like El Sadat in a film," prominent film historian and critique Tarek Shenawi told Al-Hayat TV. "It is really strange to find El Sadat, who is well-known and respected in the West for his peace achievements, get mocked like this."

In her case, Rokaya Sadat said that the film has crossed all the constitutional lines for freedom of speech, adding that such production presents an insult to her father as well as the whole country.

A spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry similarly condemned the movie, asking its producers (John Hamburg and Donald De Line) to issue an official apology for naming a pet character after the Noble Peace Prize winner. The spokesman said that either the film's writer was a boor or simply wanted to insult Sadat.

Sadat's daughter is well-known for fiercely opposing any attempt to defame her late father. Last year she sent an official protest to the Iranian embassy in Egypt after the release of an Iranian documentary that described her father's killer, Khaled Islambouli, as a martyr.

She recently was awarded 150,000 Egyptian pounds, paid by Gamal Abdel Nasser's daughter Hoda, who said last year that Anwar Sadat plotted the killing of her father. Sadat succeeded Nasser as president.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Late Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat. Credit: Associated Press

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