Arts & Culture

Two Egyptian Belly-dancers Sentenced to Prison Over “Debauchery” in Music Videos

Two Egyptian Belly-dancers Sentenced to Prison Over “Debauchery” in Music Videos

Shakira in El-Kamoun
Shakira in El-Kamoun

Two belly-dancers who had been charged with debauchery and the promotion of immorality in their music videos have been sentenced to six months in prison.

The Agouza Court, headed by Judge Mohammed Fathi, sentenced belly-dancers Soha Mohammed (Shakira) and Dalia Kamal Youssef (Paradise/Bardis) to six months each after finding them guilty of inciting immorality and debauchery and the promotion of nudity in their ‘shameless’ music videos, reported Al-Ahram.

The charges had been laid and the belly-dancers were arrested after lawyer Mohamed el-Nemr, who accused the belly dancers of tarnishing Egypt’s image, filed a police report.

Shakira is most known for her appearance in a music video for the popular song ‘Felfel we El Kamoun’, while Bardis appeared in ‘Ya Wad Ya Te2eel’.

The sentencing comes several days after the the Egyptian Syndicate of Musical Professions announced a ban on “revealing outfits” worn by singers on stage in the name of “recommitting to Egyptian values and tradition”, according to syndicate chief Ahmed Ramadan.

Under the new regulation, performers who are members of the syndicate – or who have a permit – will be banned from performing in Egypt if they are seen on stage in “inappropriate” clothing.

Earlier this year, one of Egypt’s most well-known belly dancers, Safinaz, was sentenced to six months imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine of EGP 15,000 by the Cairo Misdemeanour Court, for dancing in a dress designed like the Egyptian flag.

In a similar vein, Egyptian performer Salma El-Fouly was arrested after dancing seductively and wearing revealing clothing in the “Seib Eidy” (Let Go Of My Hand) music video – a story which reached international headlines. Much like Safinaz, Shakira and Barids, she was accused of “inciting debauchery and immorality” and “harming public morals.” While it was the revealing nature of El-Fouly’s clothing that had received attention, the lyrics had also been blasted as sexist. The lyrics told the story of a woman, El-Fouly, riding on the mixed section of Cairo’s metro. A man, portrayed as Wael, then sexually harasses her by touching her and feeling her up, which she later admits in the video to secretly enjoying.

However, unlike El-Fouly’s video which was released on YouTube, Shakira and Bardis’ music videos had been shown across a number of Egyptian music television channels including Mazzika.

It remains unclear whether Shakira and Bardis will appeal their sentences.

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