Egypt Arrests Singer over Racy Music Video Presenting ‘Great Risk’ to Society

Egyptian singer Leila Amer detained over racy music video

Another Egyptian singer was arrested on charges of “inciting debauchery” after releasing a sexually suggestive music video, it has emerged.

The singer Leila Amer appeared in an online music video entitled “Bos Omak,” meaning “Look at Your Mother,” where she is seeing dancing sensually and making provocative gestures. In the video, Amer is seen caught between a man and an older woman that appears to be her mother, as she struggles to prepare a meal and dry her laundry.

Amid outrage amongst some of Egypt’s hardline Islamic population, Amer was arrested by authorities on Tuesday on charges of “inciting debauchery” and “spreading provocative publicity.”

The lawyer filing the complaint, Ahmed Mahran, said that the video presented a “great risk” to Egyptian society.

“These works represent an attack on society and the destruction of the state, it being an Islamic country,” he said.

Meanwhile, the president of Egypt’s Musicians’ Union, Hany Shaker, who himself is a singer known for his hardline conservative stances, last week revealed that he had expelled Amer from the organization, describing the video as an “insult to the Egyptian people.”

Last month, 25-year-old singer Shaimaa Ahmed, commonly known as Shyma, was jailed for two years for “inciting debauchery” after appearing in another sexually explicit music video for her song “I Have Issues.” She has since had her sentence reduced to one year on appeal.

A similar case in 2016 also involved Egyptian courts sentencing two female belly dancers to six months in prison, also for “inciting debauchery,” which prosecutors said damaged the image of Egyptian women and affected public morality.

In November, Egyptian authorities also detained seven people on charges of promoting homosexuality after they allegedly raised an LGBT flag at a concert in Cairo by the Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou’ Leila.

The cases pose questions over the decreasing level of freedom and human rights under Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who ascended to office in 2014 from a military coup, which grew out of fears that former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ratcheting up the state’s repressive apparatus.

However, the country still remains relatively liberal compared to many of its Middle Eastern neighbors such as Saudi Arabia, with alcohol readily available in shops, while women are regularly seen walking in public without a hijab.

According to Amnesty International, the Egyptian government is currently “shifting their onslaught against media freedom to the digital sphere,” mainly through the blocking of dozens of news websites critical of the government.

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