Egypt religious authority calls for ban on 'obscene' belly dancing show

Ahram Online, Wednesday 3 Sep 2014

Dar Al-Ifta says at an X Factor-style competition for belly dancers should be banned because it might 'serve interests' of extremists who oppose religion

Dar al-Ifta
Dar Al-Ifta (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Religious authorities in Egypt have branded an X Factor-style television show for belly dancers "obscene" and called for it to be taken off air.

Dar Al-Ifta, a state body which makes religious edicts, or fatwas, said the programme could be viewed as part of a "campaign to destroy the moral system of the religious Egyptian people."

The programme only serves "extremists who could use [the programme] to reinforce the idea that society opposes religion," it added in a statement on its official website.

The government has recently launched a campaign against atheism in parallel to its crackdown on Islamists affiliated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The "critical stage" Egypt is going through requires people to concentrate on "great challenges" such as development, illiteracy, health and terrorism, the religious body said.

The Belly Dancer is the first such competition on Egyptian television. Among its presenters is well-known dancer Dina.  

The programme started airing on Al-Qahira wal Nas channel this week. It is broadcast three days a week.

On Tuesday, the channel issued a statement saying it would postpone the upcoming episode after 11 security personnel were killed in an armed attack in North Sinai.

It also said it would add a black stripe to its screen as part of three days of mourning.

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