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Thursday, 27 July 2017

After 16-year hiatus, 'Satanism' claims resurface in Egypt

Conjuring up memories of infamous 'Satan worshipers case' of 1990s, lawyer for Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) accuses Cairo's prominent El-Sawy culture centre of hosting 'Satanic' bands, events

Zeinab El Gundy , Monday 3 Sep 2012
An Egyptian Metal Band
An Egyptian Metal Band (Photo: Wael Osamaa)
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Controversy erupted in Egypt's cultural scene after Ismail El-Weshahy, a lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), filed a complaint Saturday to the interior ministry against El-Sawy Culturewheel, the prominent cultural centre in Cairo's upscale Zamalek district, accusing it of hosting "Satanist" rock bands and events.

The allegations, observers say, are reminiscent of Egypt's infamous "Satan worshipers case" of the mid-1990s.

According to El-Weshahy, one of his clients attended a recent event at El-Sawy Culturewheel at which he claims to have seen young people wearing t-shirts adorned with what he described as satanic shapes and symbols. The lawyer said that his client had also filmed a group of people who he said were performing satanic rituals in the centre.

El-Weshahy insists that he does not represent the FJP in the case, but rather his two clients, both of whom are members of an independent anti-corruption NGO called 'We're Watching You."

For its part, the Culturewheel issued a statement regarding the 31 August heavy metal concert in which it denied claims by El-Weshahy and his clients.

"In our ten years of activity, the Culturewheel has not hosted any kind of practice that could be called Satanic," the statement asserted, going on to express doubt that Satanism in Egypt existed at all.

The Culturewheel also stressed in its statement that the centre's administration did not allow any kind of violation during its concerts, be it smoking or any other kind of unacceptable behaviour.

El-Sawy Culturewheel was founded in 2003 by Mohamed El-Sawy, an engineer and founder of Egypt's moderate-Islamist Hadara (Civilisation) Party. El-Sawy was appointed culture minister in the government of Ahmed Shafiq (ousted president Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister) over the objections of many intellectuals who considered him too conservative.

On 30 and 31 August, the centre hosted several Egyptian heavy metal and rock bands.

Nour Ayman Nour, the revolutionary activist and rock band member (and son of prominent reform activist Ayman Nour), slammed El-Weshahy on Twitter, demanding that the FJP declare that it was not responsible for the case against the culture centre.

Nour told Ahram Online that the issue reminded him of the State Security campaigns of the 1990s, in which, he said, the authorities would contrive fake controversies in an effort to distract the public from more pressing issues.

"Instead of filing complaints against metal bands and El-Sawy Culturewheel, why don't the FJP's lawyers focus on corruption cases that really matter?" Nour asked. He went on to call on the lawyers to refrain from judging young people based merely on their appearance.

"Ismail El-Weshahy himself could have been the victim of such profiling in the past," Nour said, referring to the way Islamists – or all bearded men – were treated in Egypt during the Mubarak era.

In late 1996, Egyptian security forces arrested several young people on charges of promoting Satanism in Egypt through metal and black-metal music, possessing drugs and insulting the divine religions. The case, which came to be known in the media as "the Satan worshipers case," was handled largely by Egypt's State Security apparatus.

After months of media controversy, the defendants were eventually released due to a lack of evidence.

Nevertheless, given local sensibilities, many Egyptians continue to associate so-called 'black metal' music with Satanism.

On Saturday, Egyptian metal band member Wael Osama posted a video on YouTube in which he defended metal music and bands from El-Weshahy's allegations.

"El-Weshahy made grave legal accusations against the metal bands. We should be concerned about the reactions of the public. After all, we recently saw what happened to the young man who was walking with his fiancé in Suez and was killed by radical Islamists," Osama told Ahram Online, warning against a return to the inquisitions of the past.  

"I tried to use the media available to me to explain the metal subculture to the people of Egypt," he said. "I feel sympathy for this lawyer, since he may not be familiar with the metal subculture, and therefore may find it strange to see young people head banging and wearing black."

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Mahmoud Omar
12-09-2012 05:14pm
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Contacts in egypt
i would like to have the band contact if is it possible please.
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Metal rules forever! \m/
05-09-2012 04:57am
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Keep the metal faith...
Blabbermouth sent me here----Here's hoping metal music continues to grow in your part of the world! I'm not in hell, satanic, drug user or anything like that. It's for FREE THINKERS!!!!
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Michelle
04-09-2012 09:37pm
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heavy metal IS satanism
Fortunately...the good and innocent people of Egypt have mostly been sheltered from the evils of satanic heavy metal music. As a Canadian convert to Islam who unfortunately grew up with family members and class mates who listened to and still listen to this type of music I can tell you from first hand and painful experience that AL HEAVY METAL MUSIC IS SATANIC! 100%! I have witnessed what it does to the souls of soooo many. They become satans...literally! They always deny it and defend it...just as a drug addict , alcoholic or anyone else doing haram defends it. Heavy metal is from the shaitan and he is deceiving and dragging those who fall into it's trap into a hell trap and has for a generation destroyed the souls, lives and families of many many families in the western countries. because of it. Protect your loved ones from this great evil.
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non of your busnis
30-06-2013 07:51pm
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your dumb
Your a ignorant person if you think that music has anything to do with evil.
A woman
05-09-2012 01:31pm
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Kindergarden-level
Congratulation Michelle! I have heard or read a lot of stupid things in my life, but this for sure is one of the biggest pieces of nonsense I ever read. I still remember that my mum used to warn me from Shaitan when I did something wrong, but that was when I was about five or six years old... Let everybody listen to the music he likes - PLEASE!
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Dr. Malek Muhammad Towghi/Tauqee (Baluch)
04-09-2012 09:53am
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A Twent-First Century Inquisition?
The Brotherhood/JFP vs. the Free-Thinkers of Egypt! Not a good sign. Is it an indigestion of culture and civilization or the beginning of a 21st Century Inquisition?? I think both, because only the societies suffering from a chronic indigestion of culture & civilization indulge in inquisitions. What is the Difference between the Ikhwan and the Taliban & the Saudi Wahhaabis???
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Mona
05-09-2012 11:42pm
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not inquisition
I understand freedom of thinking, but i love Art and Music too much, thank God for music they say "La musique adoucit les moeurs". I cant stand Noise that expresses Rage. Thank you.
A woman
05-09-2012 02:08pm
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Act of worshiping
To Salam: You are right, sex (done with love, tenderness, respect and dignity) can indeed be an act of worshiping, but I fear this is something you will not understand...
salam
04-09-2012 09:15pm
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Freedom of thought vs. anarchy and permissiveness
since when was worshiping satan and sex and what have you an expression of the freedom of thought.
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cairo guy
03-09-2012 09:03pm
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yeah!!
yessss! i can't wait to start worshiping satan again soon, it just feels sooooo good!
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Israeli Guy
05-09-2012 08:31am
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Mr.
Thumbs up to all the metal guys in Egypt.
Dr. Malek Towghi/Tauqee (Baluch) --USA
05-09-2012 04:25am
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The Dark Ages, Why called So?
Hind, Yes, the so-called 'satanism' was popular in the European Dark Age. Do you know why it is called the Dark Age? Because it was the time when Christian Church & Theocracy ruled over and controlled all aspects of life against intellectual freedom. European 'Satanism' was a symbolic loud cry against that religious tyranny, as Sufism & High Poetry have been loud and subdued cries against our own bigots and tyrants throughout our history. Remember that the Ikhwans & Salafis of the alleged that those free-thinkers were deluded by Satan! Now that the obscurantists have hijacked the Revolution trying to 'eternalize' their grip by imposing THEIR OWN constitution, emergence of Free Thinking in all forms is a welcome sign.
Snake
04-09-2012 11:47pm
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Just a joke!
in case u did not notice Mohamed, the guy is joking! there is no such thing in egypt and everybody knows that! Not now, not in the 1990s and not ever ISA.
mohammed
04-09-2012 04:57pm
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yeah!!
then you also don't mind to follow satan to hell right?
Hind
04-09-2012 12:27am
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Yyyeah!!
Satanism was popular in Midlle-Age-Dark Age Europe
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