Egypt singer detained over racy music video

Egypt singer detained over racy music video
2 min read
03 January, 2018
A female Egyptian singer has been detained for four days after a video of her latest song sparked controversy in the country.
Many Egyptians sense a government crackdown on displays of female sexuality [File Photo: AFP]

Prosecutors in Egypt detained a female singer for four days for "incitement to debauchery" after an online video clip sparked controversy, a judicial source said on Tuesday.

Laila Amer appeared at the end of December in a music video called Boss Ommak ("Look at your Mother") which includes sensual oriental dance and suggestive gestures. The title rhymes with a commonly used insult that many have found offensive. 

The head of Egypt's Syndicate for Musicians, Hany Chaker, reportedly called on authorities to investigate the matter and arrest Amer. 

The director of the Cairo Centre for Legal Studies also reportedly filed a legal claim against the singer with the country's head prosecutor.

He accused Amer's music video of being a "moral disaster", due to her movements he deemed with "sexual gesturing". He also filed a complaint against the video's director, Samir al-Maraghi, and the production company, Media Art.

"In light of suffering from a decline in the morals of society […] such works contributed significantly to the level our society has reached, including the spread of sexual harassment and inappropriate words, especially as we are a religious community where the constitution emphasises commitment to the principles of the Islamic religion," said Mahran.

"The clip is a disgrace to public modesty and incites immorality, violating Article 269 ​​of the Penal Code," he added.

In the music video, Amer can be seen belly dancing on a TV screen as a man looks on, as well as doing traditional household chores such as cooking and laundry.

The singer went on Egypt's Dream TV on Friday in an attempt to defend her song, claiming that the meaning had been misconstrued.

Her case comes less than a month after another female pop singer was sentenced to two years in prison for "inciting debauchery" over a racy video.

Shyma appeared in a mock classroom licking an apple and appearing to mimic fellatio on a banana in front of a chalkboard scrawled with "Class #69".

On Monday her sentence was reduced on appeal to a year in jail.