Egypt’s most controversial Belly-Dancer, Sama El-Masry, has signed a contract with “one of the biggest TV channels in the country” to host a show during the holy month of Ramadan. The show, entitled “3oqoq el Walidain“, is to explore an Islamic perspective on the matter of obedience, with El-Masry hosting ‘religious figures’ to discuss the religious consequences for those who disobey their parents.
Unsurprisingly, the news has sparked discontent in Egypt, particularly with Al-Azhar, one of the leading Muslim authorities in Cairo. Scholars from the religious institution told local news outlet Al Arabiya that they will not remain quiet on the matter, and are waiting for the official announcement before calling on authorities to intervene and hold the satellite channel accountable.
Social media activists have called for a boycott of the upcoming programme, claiming “it would be insolent to see a belly-dancer present a religious program,” and the Twitter-verse has been blowing up with users poking fun at El-Masry.
The notorious Belly-Dancer further ruffled feathers when she refused the channel’s request for her to appear wearing hijab in the show, stating that it would not be convincing given that she doesn’t wear it in her off-air life. However, she claims to be considering ‘covering her hair with a scarf’ on the show as an appeasement (umm, not much different from wearing hijab…). The name of the TV channel to produce and air the controversial talk-show has yet to be announced.
This is not the first time El-Masry has made waves in the media; just last April, the Belly-Dancer posted a bathroom-selfie of herself in the nude on Instagram. She claimed that the photo had been stolen from her mobile phone and leaked online, but the public weren’t buying it, going as far as calling her a “prostitute”.
Just days after the scandalous photo went viral in Egypt, El-Masry posted a picture of herself wearing an ‘isdal‘ prayer garment, with the caption, “Just because we wear dresses and keep our hair uncovered doesn’t mean that we don’t pray. No, we must always do our best to keep our prayers.” ”This is our way to get closer to God, and only he knows what’s really in our hearts,” she added. “Let’s perform our Fajr prayers then repent and ask God for forgiveness. Let’s ask that we commit no further sins today. But if we do, God will pull us closer to him once again.”
Fair enough; we know not to judge a book by it’s cover (or genre, in this case?), however, the move seemed to be more of a damage-control PR stunt, rather than genuine regret.
Furthermore, the contentious Belly-Dancer was summoned to court and jailed two years prior, in 2014, on charges of “spreading obscenity” on her TV channel Felool, which criticised the Muslim Brotherhood among other political matters. In one of her sketches, she attacked the former president Mohammed Morsi for a failed “Renaissance Project” he had promised Egypt in his campaigns.
There was also that time she made fun of former US president Barrack Obama, as well as Egyptian satirical comedian Bassem Youssef.
And what about the time she danced outside the American Embassy in Cairo to celebrate the departure of the former American Ambassador? We’re definitely glad that her attempt to run for parliament was unsuccessful.
This isn’t the first time El-Masry has presented a television programme; before becoming a belly-dancer, she she started her career as the host of a music show called “Clips” on the Al-Mehwar satellite channel, which was unsuccessful.
Will ”3oqoq el Walidain” bomb and become the next notch on her blunder belt?
By Salma Thanatos Rizk