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Egypt's Celebrity Kidnapping TV Show 'Comedy': Ramz 'Desert Fox' Jalal Plays a Convincing Terrorist

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While lawlessness and an increase in the number of kidnappings in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula have prompted international concern for the safety of travelers, an Egyptian comedian is using the problem to boost television ratings during Ramadan. Egyptian TV network Al-Hayat is airing a show called "Ramz, The Desert Fox," in which prankster Ramz Jalal tricks celebrities into thinking they've been kidnapped by terrorists while travelling through the Sinai. Arab celebrities are told they're participating in a show to help promote Egypt's tourism industry, which has taken a hit since last year's revolution. The stars are taken by a bus loaded with foreigners and told they're on their way to meet a famous Egyptian actor. But soon after reaching the desert, Jalal's crew pulls up, decked out in head coverings and wielding guns. Shots ring out. The other passengers, who are in on the prank, scream in staged horror. A man with a portable mortar launcher then blows out the bus' windows. The celebrity is blindfolded and taken from the bus while the crew stages a fake gun battle. Then the blindfold comes off and the celebrity realizes it was all prank. Jalal then spends several minutes trying to calm the victim down. While the show has become an instant hit in Egypt, not everyone is laughing. Some viewers have said the premise is too extreme, and Islamists have protested against such shows, saying the pranks are harmful and go against Islamic teachings. It's no surprise that the show hits ...
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