Adel Imam on Gaza

Adel Imam, hands-down the most popular actor in the Arab world, has ( according  to the Jerusalem Post)  “shocked many of his fans by expressing understanding for Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip.”   This is not quite what he did though:

Imam, a longtime outspoken critic of Islamic fundamentalism, lashed out at Egyptians who have been demonstrating against Israel’s war on Hamas. He said calls for general strikes in solidarity with the Palestinians “harmed our economy and benefited Israel alone.”

Imam was also quoted in the Egyptian press as strongly criticizing the leader of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood organization, Mahdi Akef, for having accused Egypt’s leadership of “collusion” with Israel.

The veteran 68-year-old movie star blamed Hamas for the violence, pointing out that the Egyptian leadership had warned the Islamist movement against an impending Israeli military operation.

“Hamas ignored our warnings and chose to lead an asymmetrical war,” Imam said, echoing earlier statements by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. “It’s preferable for Hamas to stop [the rocket attacks]. They should have known that Israel wasn’t going to receive the attacks with roses.”

It  shouldn’t surprise anyone that Adel Imam  has adopted this stance.   First, he is very pro-government, being good friends with Hosni Mubarak.   In fact, he is given lots of leeway to make films critical of the government because of this relationship.  Ideologically, he is about as anti-Islamist as it comes which is  obvious from the fact that he drinks alcohol and picks up prostitutes in most of his films.  See him chew out Islamist preacher Amr Khalid in this Youtube_clip.    So it doesn’t surprise me that he blames Hamas for instigating the attacks.  It should also be noted that this isn’t a view solely confined to hard-core pro-government circles in Egypt as well.