CAIRO  - Egypt’s public prosecutor on Saturday ordered the arrest of popular satirist Bassem Youssef over alleged insults to Islam and to President Mohamed Morsi, in the latest clampdown on critical media. Judicial sources told AFP that several complaints had been filed against Youssef, whose razor-sharp humour - delivered on his weekly television programme Albernameg (The Show) - has spared few public figures. He is accused of offending Islam through “making fun of the prayer ritual” on his show, and of insulting Morsi by “making fun of his international standing,” the sources said.

In one of the suits filed against him, the plaintiff asked that legal measures be taken against Youssef so as not to encourage others to follow his example, a source said. In typically manner, Youssef confirmed a warrant had been issued against him. “The warrant against me is true. I will head to the public prosecutor’s office tomorrow unless they send me a police car today and help me save on transport,” he wrote on his Twitter account. Dubbed the Egyptian answer to American television’s Jon Stewart, the heart surgeon turned comedian has repeatedly poked fun at the ruling Islamists and Morsi in particular. He shot to fame after starting his satirical show on the Internet shortly after the 18-day uprising which toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011, attracting over five million views after only seven episodes. He was signed up by private satellite television channel ONTV, before moving to another channel, CBC, to become the first Egyptian television show to be filmed before a live studio audience. Youssef and his cast of sidekicks have become household names in Egypt with their merciless critique of public figures and fearless humour.