In Egypt, the Arab Spring is well and truly gone, replaced by more religion-based fear and oppression despite the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. To appease Muslim hardliners, the government of Morsi’s successor, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (below), has been cracking down on the scourge of “indecent dancing” and “contempt of religion.”
One grassroots rights group, Daftar Ahwal, reported that there were 59 prosecutions in 2015 for “sexually-arousing dancing” and 10 for “objectionable” literary and art works. … This comes in the bigger context of a perceived crackdown on personal freedoms, particularly sexual freedom. A researcher for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), Dalia Abdel Hamid, described the number of arrests for alleged debauchery as “unprecedented”, with at least 200 cases in relation to homosexuals and transsexuals since 2013.
Two months ago, Ahmed Naji, a writer, received a two-year prison sentence for
… “violating public decency” after “sexually explicit” excerpts from his novel, The Use Of Life, were published in a state-run literary magazine, Akhbar al-Adab. … Samir Sabry, a lawyer who brought the case against Ahmed Naji, wished the court had “handed him a harsher sentence,” [adding] … “I challenge those who claim this novel is a creative piece of art to give a copy to their wives or daughters, if they dare… The novel is decadent and contradicts all standards of behavior.”
A month earlier, secular author Fatma Naoot
… was sentenced to three years in prison for contempt of religion, after she described the Muslim tradition of slaughtering sheep on Eid al-Adha as a “massacre.”
In the past year, law enforcement in Egypt, acting as a tireless anti-joy brigade, has shut down various cultural centers and events to protect public morality.
Even belly-dancing, long a staple of Egyptian culture, has come under assault for inciting debauchery.