CAIRO: A public dispute between veteran comedian Adel Imam and popular religious televangelist Khaled El-Gindi erupted after a tabloid claimed that the former turned down a blank check from the latter to play the lead role in an “Islamic movie.
An article in the tabloid Sout Al-Umma reported that Imam refused El-Gindi’s offer saying that his movies are not exclusively targeting Muslims but address Muslims, Christians and Jews.
However, while Imam denies making those statements altogether, El-Gindi said Sout Al-Umma’s reporter confirmed otherwise when he called him to verify the report.
When the article was published earlier this week, El-Gindi retaliated on his program on Al-Azhari satellite channel: “He [Imam] is nothing but an actor and if he is ‘the leader’ [reference to one of Imam’s plays El-Zaeem, where he impersonates a President] he leads only himself, said, El-Gindi, adding that the only “leader is President Hosni Mubarak.
El-Gindi added that Imam always falsely portrays characters sporting a beard in his movies as religious fanatics.
In a phone call to talk show El Beit Betak, Imam expressed his distress over El-Gindi’s criticism of him, saying that this “shouldn’t come from a religious figure.
He denied having made the reported claim, which Sout Al-Umma’s reporter allegedly quoted during a press conference Imam was holding in Jordan.
“[Actresses] Lebleba and Mervat Amin were at the press conference with me as well as a lot of other people and they can confirm that I haven’t said that . Sheikh Khaled should have made sure that what was published is true before launching this attack on me, said Imam, expressing dismay at the fact that “a religious figure referred to him as “just an actor.
Responding to criticism of his movies, Imam said that his movie “Al-Irhaby (The Terrorist) succeeded in portraying the negative aspects of terrorism, claiming that he previously tried to contact El-Gindi for advice on his movie “Hassan and Morcos but that the latter never returned his calls.
El-Gindi participates in a segment on El-Beit Betak with presenter Mahmoud Saad, who brought up the issue.
El-Gindi cast doubt on Imam’s claims. “If he is so sure that he did not say that then why can’t he confront journalist Hassan Abdel Fattah [who wrote the article], adding that the journalist has repeatedly sworn to him that the information is true.
“I pray to God to forgive him and guide him, said El-Gindi.