Share “Egypt religious body: Suspend...”

Egypt religious body: Suspend belly-dancing show

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm •  Published: September 3, 2014
Advertisement

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's top religious body demanded Wednesday that a new belly-dancing TV show be suspended for "corrupting morals" and serving "extremists" who could use it as a pretext to depict Egyptian society as anti-Islamic.

The call by Dar al-Ifta, the top body that advises Muslims on religious and life issues, follows others criticizing the show called "Dancer." But the debate over it isn't all about it being too racy for television — it's part of a concerted effort by Egypt's government to show its both challenging Islamists as a political forces while still respecting the country's more-conservative values.

"Dancer" aired only once on the Cairo and People satellite television network. A famous belly dancer known as Dina was among a three-member panel that chose the most-talented dancers, many of whom were not Egyptians.

In an advertisement, the network said the winner would receive the title "the best belly dancer in the world." The contestants also shouted at each other and fought in the advertisement in the tradition of Western-style reality shows.

The network ran an announcement Tuesday saying it postponed the show's second episode over the country mourning the killing of security forces in a militant attack in northern Sinai Peninsula.

Belly dancing has been famed in Middle Eastern countries for centuries, though many Egyptian conservatives now believe it immoral. Many belly dancers here say Egyptian movies — in which belly dancers are often characters who only lust after men and their money — is to blame for the negative image.

Foreign belly dancers, instructors and fun-loving amateurs fly to Egypt from as far as Japan, the United States and Australia to learn more about the art and get a sense of the culture in which it originated.

Continue reading this story on the...