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Music Censorship in Egypt

authorities persecute singers for slightly sexy music videos


Won't somebody think of the mothers and daughters?...

Egypt bill introduced to increase penalties for strong language in art works

Link Here 22nd March 2020
Full story: Music Censorship in Egypt...authorities persecute singers for slightly sexy music videos
Earlier in March, the Egyptian parliament started discussing a draft amendment to the Penal Code that aims to provide harsher penalties including imprisonment for using lewd or offensive words, especially in artworks. The suggested amendment may send the offender to prison for three years for offending public sensibilities through lewd language, instead of a fine of 500 Egyptian pounds ($32) currently determined by law.

The draft law needs to go through parliamentary subcommittees, but no date has yet been set.

The bill comes in the wake of a major controversy over mahraganat , a hybrid music genre that combines folk with electronic music and uses colloquialism in its lyrics. This genre of music, whose name literally means festivals in Arabic, originated in the Cairo slums in the early 2000s. Its beat resembles that of American rap and, like rap, its lyrics contain sexual innuendos, racy words and obscenities.

These songs have entered every household in Egypt through the internet and smartphones, Amer told Al-Monitor. A mother, a sister, a wife or daughter should never be exposed to such words because they are offensive and often sexist.

The lyrics of one of these songs -- Bent el-Geran (The Neighbor's Daughter) by Hassan Shakosh and Omar Kamal -- ignited on Feb. 14 the debate on mahraganat. The song's lyrics suggest alcohol and hashish -- both of which are forbidden in Islam -- to get over a heartbreak.

The suggestion of alcohol and hashish angered many critics, the powerful Egyptian Musicians Syndicate and parliamentarians, including Amer. They argued that the song was an attack on the public taste and encouragement of immorality.



Bellicose moralism...

A Russian belly dancer is the latest victim of Egypt's morality drive

Link Here9th February 2018
Full story: Music Censorship in Egypt...authorities persecute singers for slightly sexy music videos

The Tourism and Antiquities Police have referred a Russian belly dancer Eicatrina Andreeva, who goes by the name Gawhara, to investigations for wearing a 'non-standard' dancing suit A controversy arose over how the ideal dancing suit should look.

According to Act No. 430 of the law on the censorship of literary works, the dancing suit should cover the lower body, with no side slits, and should cover the breast and stomach area.

The Russian dancer was arrested over inciting 'debauchery and arousing young people's sexual instincts', as she appeared in a not particularly sexy dancing video that has gone viral.

Accompanied by a translator during her investigations, Gawhara added that she was wearing a dancing suit no different than those donned by many belly dancers in Egypt.

The Tourism and Antiquities Police stated that Gawhara was wearing a non-standard dancing outfit and was featured in a viral video flaunting her body and pointing to private parts of her body in a racy manner, according to the findings of preliminary investigation previously announced by the prosecution.



Updated: Suggestive of repression...

Another Egyptian singer is arrested for supposed debauchery in a decidedly unsexy music video

Link Here 21st January 2018
Full story: Music Censorship in Egypt...authorities persecute singers for slightly sexy music videos
Egyptian authorities have arrested another female singer on charges of incitement to debauchery after her music video sparked controversy.

Leila Amer will be detained for four days while authorities investigate the video to the song Boss Oumek (Look At Your Mother) which includes supposedly suggestive dancing and gestures.

Ahmed Mahran, the lawyer who filed a complaint, argues the video poses a great risk to Egyptian society and especially young people.

Musicians' union president Hany Shaker, a male singer known for his conservative stance, last week announced on the private channel Dream TV that Amer had been expelled from the union, effectively ending her career as a musician.

Update: Another victim

21st January 2018. See  article from

Egyptian female singer and dancer Fatima, popularly known as Eghraa was arrested on 20 December 2017 on charges of inciting debauchery and violating public decency for the viral music video of her song I Want a Man in which she is seen dancing provocatively in revealing clothing, reported Egyptian news sources .

The artist's trial has been adjourned until 23 January 2018. If convicted, she could face up to three years in prison. This is the second time that the singer has been arrested on charges of inciting debauchery and facilitating prostitution,



Updated: Intolerant ethics...

Egyptian authorities get nasty over a sexy pop video

Link Here13th December 2017
Full story: Music Censorship in Egypt...authorities persecute singers for slightly sexy music videos
Egyptian singer Shyma has been arrested on suspicion of incitement to debauchery over her new video for song Andy Zoroof (I Have Problems), which authorities considered to be too daring and suggestive.

If convicted, the singer faces a one-year prison sentence, and in the mean time she is being held in custody.

At a court hearing where the singer's detention was extended by a further seven days, the singer stated she didn't know her video would cause such controversy and was acting according to the video director's requests.

Additionally, the Music Syndicate have decided to withdraw the singer's annual license, leaving her unable to perform and earn a living as a singer. The union also claimed that her video was pornographic and harmed the values of community and ethics.

The video, which sparked outrage in the country, features the singer in a classroom in front of male students licking an apple and slowly unpeeling a banana, eating it and pouring milk on it, and worst of all, pulling her bra strap off her shoulder.

Update: Jailed for 2 years

13th December 2017 See  article from

Shyma has now been sentenced to two years in prison for inciting debauchery in a racy music video clip. She was also fined 10,000 pounds (420) by a Cairo court.

The director of the clip, Mohamed Gamal, received the same sentence. Both can appeal against the ruling.


25th November

Censorial Monkey Business...

Lebanese singer winds up Nubian Egyptians

Haifa Wehbe, a popular Lebanese pop singer, has always been a controversial figure. The queen of a relatively new breed of voluptuous, coquettish starlets, her provocative lyrics, attire and music videos have won her popularity among Arab men who lust after her, women who want to emulate her, and now children targeted by her latest album. It is in objection to allegedly racially insulting lyrics from this album that a group of Nubian lawyers submitted an official complaint to Egypt's public prosecutor calling for one of the songs to be banned.

The offending track, Baba Feen , a children's ditty shot in a bizarre Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-Teletubbies video, features Wehbe as a very sexy mother trying to cajole her young son into going back to bed which he refuses to do unless she meets several demands, one of which is to fetch him his teddy bear and Nubian monkey .

This perceived reference to black Egyptians has provoked anger among the country's Nubian minority and the diva is now facing claims that the song's lyrics are discriminatory and are fuelling racist attitudes towards Nubians, allegedly contributing to playground bullying of dark-skinned children. The episode seems to have galvanised members of the Nubian community, who originate from southern Egypt and north Sudan, the descendants of the founders of the Nubian kingdom, one of Africa's earliest black civilisations, which flourished along the banks of the Nile some 3,000 years BC.

The singer has apologised profusely for any offence caused and claimed that the song was penned by an Egyptian writer who told her that the term referred to a popular children's street game (which makes no sense in the context of the song, where the boy is ticking off a list of toys he wants including a teddy bear, Barbie and toy musical organ).

Banned by the Egyptian Censor


Dr. Sayed Al Khatab who is the president of the Egyptian censorship had made a decision to forbid the new clip for the song Baba Feen (where Is Daddy) for the famous Lebanese superstar Haifa Wahbe, claiming that she had made some inappropriate remarks about the Egyptian ethnic group the Nuba . He also points out that the song did not get the official permission to air.

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