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Leila Amer: Egyptian singer arrested over video branded a 'moral disaster' by conservative lawyer

Arrest comes less than a month after another singer was sentenced to two years in prison over a similar case

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Thursday 04 January 2018 11:10
Leila Amer: Egyptian singer arrested after conservative lawyer claims music video is a "great risk" to Egpyt

A female pop singer has been arrested in Egypt less than a month after another was sentenced to two years in prison over a controversial music video.

Leila Amer will detained for four days, according to reports, while authorities investigate her video for the song "Boss Oumek" ("Look At Your Mother"), which includes "suggestive" dancing and gestures.

It showed a belly dancer being watched on television by a man in his home while she made gestures which appeared to entice him into the song. Much of the video shows Ms Amer caught between the man and an older woman, who appears to be her mother, as she struggles to prepare a meal and do laundry.

The lawyer who filed a complaint, Ahmed Mahran, told local media that the video was a "great risk" to Egypt and called it a "moral disaster", pointing out that the title rhymes with a well-known, sexually-explicit Arabic insult - "Kus Emek" - meaning "your mum's p***y".

"These works represent an attack on society and the destruction of the state, it being an Islamic country," Mr Mahran said.

Hany Shaker, president of the country's Musicians' Union, announced last week that Ms Amer had been expelled from the union.

Ms Amer's case occurs less than a month after a fellow singer was sentenced to two years in prison over a raunchy video.

Shyma, real name Shaimaa Ahmed, was relatively unknown in Egypt until releasing her video for "I Have Issues", which showed her dancing in her underwear in a classroom of adult men, pouring milk over a banana, licking an apple and tasting the icing on a piece of chocolate cake.

Following mass outrage sparked by influential blogger Marwan Younis, she was arrested. It was reported last week that her sentence has been reduced to one year following an appeal.

Egypt has been growing increasingly conservative in its views towards popular culture over the past three years, with authorities cracking down on artists they claim promote debauchery and immorality.

In 2015 two bellydancers - Shakira and Bardis - were arrested and sentenced to six months in prison for videos posted on their YouTube channels.

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