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Why Are People Against Mohamed Henedy Changing His Citizenship?

March 1, 2024

“I don’t understand how someone could give up their citizenship, forget about their origins, and leave a huge part of their identity like that,” Nouran Mohamed, 25, marketing manager, told Egyptian Streets. “There are thousands of Egyptians who have other citizenships, but still call themselves Egyptian, why is he a ‘Saudi artist’?”

Mohamed Henedy announced on 25 January that he obtained Saudi Arabian citizenship, and fans are still outraged to this day.

Henedy, known for being one of the best Egyptian Comedians of the 21st century, continues to spark controversy across different social media platforms every time his name is mentioned next to the words, ‘Saudi Arabia.’

Henedy’s announcement was through a tweet on X (formerly known as Twitter). He said, “The greatest honor is that I have had the privilege of obtaining the citizenship and passport of the land of the Two Holy Mosques.”

Most of his Saudi Arabian fans congratulated him and welcomed him warmly to Saudi Arabia. However, one user replied, “Now I feel protective over my Saudi identity.”

On the other hand, Egyptian fans resorted to mockery and started renaming his films, making them more relevant to The Kingdom. They changed the name of his film, ‘Ismaelia Rayeh Gay’ to, ‘Jeddah Rayeh Gay.’ Instead of ‘Andalib El Dokki,’ they called it ‘Andalib Al Riyad.’

A picture taken of a TV screen circulated on social media on 25 February, caused great outrage. The picture showed Henedy on a Saudi TV talk show, with the bottom banner labeling him as, “The Saudi artist, Mohamed Henedy.”

Fans were triggered and took to social media to express their anger and disappointment. A social media user wrote, “Even people are being bought!”

“I understand that everyone has their reasoning and motive, but Henedy is a public figure with thousands of fans and followers, and his actions can certainly influence others, and that’s concerning, ” Mariam Abdallah, 59, English teacher, told Egyptian streets.

Abdallah emphasized that changing his citizenship might make some people question where his loyalties lie.

“There’s this sense of national pride and identity that’s deeply ingrained in many of us, and seeing someone like Henedy take on new citizenship can feel uneasy because it’s something one holds so dear and another is throwing away.”

Bahaa Ismail, 27, a software engineer, told Egyptian Streets, “Saudi Arabia is just buying people. They have no real artists, so they just pay artists to become Saudi,” which is an opinion various people have articulated in comments on social media.

“Henedy can do whatever he wants to do, but I do not think this decision was thought-through.” Farahnaz Mohamed, 29, an operations manager, shared with Egyptian streets.

“This decision cost him many fans and his career. If he stars in a new film alongside Saudi actors and actresses, and it shows in Saudi cinemas, who is really going to go and watch it? The majority of his fans are Egyptians. He speaks in an Egyptian accent, his sense of humor is Egyptian, and his jokes are pretty Egyptian as well. So I do not think anything about him is Saudi, even if they say he is.”

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