Egyptian film company says will not use song by singer-turned-militant Fadl Shaker in upcoming series
Ahram Online, Thursday 10 May 2018

Leading Egyptian film production company El-Adl Group said it will not be using a song by Lebanese singer-turned-militant Fadl Shaker in an upcoming series the company is producing, stressing that it had not known about the singer's legal status when it chose him for the song.

Shaker, 49, had announced on Twitter earlier this week his comeback to Egypt's music scene with a song for an Egyptian series due to air this May.

A day later, El-Adl Group said it would not use Shaker's song for the series' opening credits after it discovered that "his problem has not been solved and there are question marks around his legal status."

Shaker was sentenced in absentia last September by a Lebanese court to 15 years in prison for involvement in attacks in 2013 on the Lebanese army amid heightened sectarian tensions.

Shaker has not been arrested, and has been living in a Palestinian camp in southern Lebanon that is not under the control of Lebanese authorities.

Shaker rose to prominence all over the Arab world in the early 2000s, but his music career came to a halt in 2012 when he joined a militant organisation led by Salafist sheikh Ahmed Al-Assir.

The Egyptian film company’s decision to drop Shaker’s song came after the mother of Lebanese army soldier George Abu Saab, who was killed during fighting with Al-Assir's supporters, appeared in a video calling on the company to drop the song out of respect for the families of the martyrs.

Her sister also wrote a letter to the company echoing this sentiment and slamming Shaker as a fugitive terrorist.

The company said on its official Facebook page on Wednesday that it had selected Shaker to sing the song on "purely artistic grounds," and that it did not know that his legal issues were still ongoing.

It said its decision not to use the song stemmed from its "respect for the Lebanese people and army."

In early 2015, Shaker said on Lebanese TV that he hoped to return to regular life, distancing himself from Al-Assir.