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Stand-up comedian Mohammed Ashraf Image Credit: Facebook

Cairo: An Egyptian stand-up comedian has come under fire and faced accusations of blasphemy after he had derided presenters of the popular Holy Quran Radio.

The young comic Mohammed Ashraf appeared in an online video taking jibes at the broadcasters of the popular state radio. His satire has triggered an outcry and prompted angry commentators to set up a trending hashtag in Arabic reading “Support the Holy Quran Radio”.

“I support the Holy Quran Radio because it is a lighthouse of knowledge and dissemination of moderate tolerant Islam,” said Egypt’s famous ex-footballer Mustafa Abdou in a Twitter post.

Egypt’s media regulator, the National Authority for Media, condemned the controversial show and vowed legal action against the comedian.

“The National Authority for Media will immediately address the bodies concerned and coordinate with them to bring this person to account for the grave mistake he has made against the Holy Quran Radio that is venerated and respected by the Egyptian and Arab listeners,” the state-appointed agency said in a statement.

In reaction, Ashraf said he did not mean offence. “I was just joking,” he said. “I am a Muslim and can’t mock my religion. I apologise to all radio personalities. I didn’t mean to offend them. My aim was just laughter,” he added.

Security agencies are examining the video for possible legal action, Egyptian media reported.