Islamic preacher Safwat Hegazi drew fire on Friday after allegedly hitting two female journalists during President Mohamed Morsi’s speech to protesters in Tahrir square.
According to photojournalist Shehab Al-Din Abdel Razek’s twitter account, a reporter for Al Masry Al-Youm newspaper and a Canadian photojournalist were on the podium during the President’s speech when Hegazi asked them to move from their position.
The journalists argued with Hegazi, and when they refused to move, witnesses say that Hegazi pushed one or both of them violently off the stage.
News service, ONA, later verified the story from photojournalist Abdel Razek.
According to him, members of the Muslim Brotherhood removed both photographers from out of Hegazi’s reach, and forced them to leave the podium.
Hegazi, an Islamic preacher denied the allegations. According to Hegazi, he did ask the journalists to leave the podium after all other journalists had already left and they refused.
He then claims that he tried talking them into leaving but he never physically touched them. He also denied the allegations against him on his Facebook page.
That wasn’t the only controversial act committed by Hegazi on Friday, though. Welcoming President Morsi on the podium, Hegazi was seen kissing the president’s hand.
Committing a ritual generally frowned upon, as well as reminiscent of the rituals that surrounded former President Mubarak, he received a lot of criticism for the scene.
A prominent Islamist preacher, Hegazi had once received praise for taking part in the 18-day January uprising in 2011. Nevertheless, his actions and statements since have drawn him the ire of liberal revolutionary youth.
In one more distasteful case he criticised the victim of a beating in the streets known as the “the girl in the blue bra”.
Hegazi suggested that the young protestor, captured in a now infamous image that showed her being dragged across the street uncovered by the beatings she was being dealt at the hands of several soldiers, should not have been there in the first place.