In a country that prides itself on being high on democracy, freedom of expression has never been so suppressed. Thursday, comedian Shaden Fakih, from awk.word comedy club, was the target of religious authorities. Acting on instructions from the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdellatif Derian, Dar al-Fatwa filed a complaint against the comedian for “offending Islam,” “the Prophet Muhammad, and “national unity,” as well as for “inciting religious and communal discord.”

The reason behind this legal action pertains to a video clip that was widely shared on social media Wednesday, in which Shaden Fakih jested about Islamic and Christian prayer rituals. This clip, which was taken from a performance by the comedian at awk.word, sparked public outrage in Tripoli. A sit-in was staged at al-Nour Square, during which she was asked to face the consequences of her actions.

The Karama Movement (led by MP Faysal Karameh) has also urged the competent authorities to condemn “this insult against Islam and the Prophet” and to “impose the severest penalties” on the comedian.

Shaden Fakih’s case is not an isolated incident. Last August, Nour Hajjar, also a comedian at awk.word, was briefly detained due to a video dating back to 2018, in which he humorously recounted his mother’s demeanor during a condolence visit.

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