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The New Arab

Egypt: Musicians' union leader quits amid 'devil-worship' scandal

The lyrics of many of Inquisition's songs promote Satanism [Inquisition]

Date of publication: 27 February, 2016

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The head of the Egyptian Musicians' Syndicate has resigned following a backlash against his accusations that heavy metal fans were "devil-worshippers", as Egypt continues a crackdown on its arts scene.

Egypt's head of its musicians' syndicate has handed in his resignation following an intense media storm over his decision last weekend to try and shut down a "satanic" heavy metal concert.

Hany Shaker handed in his notice on Friday after his attempt to stop the metal gig prompted a major backlash - much to the delight of his critics.

Last Saturday, Shaker controversially ordered authorities to shut a concert in downtown Cairo that included American black metal band Inquisition, whose members openly state they adhere to Satanism.

"This isn't the first time the people have panicked from something they don't understand. It's good that the media have spoken out against the 'devil-worshiping" accusations," Tarek Abdel Latif, a guitarist for a local metal band, told The New Arab.

"However, I think it was unnecessary for him to resign over this, he shouldn't be blamed for widespread ignorance about metal music and culture," Abdel Latif added.

Metal singer Sammy Sayed said: "It is a positive step forward that metal musicians will now be able to obtain permits to perform legally without hiding in the shadows such as in the past".

     
      Shaker was a popular singer in the 1980s and 90s [Getty]


"I personally respect that every culture has its limits and cannot accept certain freedoms.

"But all of us should be allowed to practice our musical freedom of expression in a mature fashion," he added.

Shaker, himself a pop singer, told local media that "devil worshippers" from abroad were part of a Western conspiracy to spread "chaos and immorality" among young Egyptians.

"I saw the photos of the concert; they were wearing strange clothes with strange makeup and had the Masonic star of David on their backs," he said in another televised interview.

But Shaker still has his fans; following the announcement of his resignation many of his colleagues have come to his defence.

Did Shaker have a point?
Inquisition's song Crush The Jewish Prophet, from their 2004 album, Magnificent Glorification of Lucifer, is unapologetic about its offensive lyrics:

We are the warriors of Satan's legion
We are the soldiers of infernal war
Knife in my hand, axe in the other
We are the killers in search of Christ

Crush, Crush, Crush… Jesus
Crush, Crush, Crush… Jesus

Prepare for battle weak lambs of God
Lord of destruction I summon thee
Grant us your powers of annihilation
Crush the Jewish prophet, death to Christian faith

Crush, Crush, Crush… Jesus
Crush, Crush, Crush… Jesus

The band's guitarist, Jason Weirbach, has also been forced to defend himself of allegations of neo-Nazism over the name of another of his musical projects, 88MM - '88' being a common neo-Nazi motif referring to the eighth letter of the alphabet - 'HH', or 'Heil Hitler'. Weirback says the name refers to a type and size of German artillery shell.


"We reject the attacks against the Prince of Arabic music and syndicate head Hany Shaker because of his attempts to uphold our societal values and beliefs," the board of the musicians' syndicate said in a statement.

"[Shaker's] artistic and moral status is greater than those who have criticised him. He has run the syndicate professionally and in the past few months he had made unparalleled achievements," it added.

On Saturday, members of the syndicate held a protest outside its headquarters in Cairo in protest of Shaker's resignation.

This comes as Egyptian artists have faced unprecedented censorship from the government.

Last week, a novelist was sentenced to two years in prison for publishing "sexually explicit content" in a state-owned newspaper.

An art gallery and theatre popular with politically active young people were raided and shut down by police because of "administrative irregularities".

Also in December, a cafe was closed down for being connected to devil worship and atheism.

"It was popularly known as a place for Satan worship, rituals and dances," a local policeman said at the time.

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