Earlier in March, the Egyptian parliament started discussing a draft amendment to the Penal Code that aims to provide harsher penalties including imprisonment for using lewd or offensive words, especially in artworks. The suggested amendment may send
the offender to prison for three years for offending public sensibilities through lewd language, instead of a fine of 500 Egyptian pounds ($32) currently determined by law.
The draft law needs to go through parliamentary subcommittees, but no date has
yet been set.
The bill comes in the wake of a major controversy over mahraganat , a hybrid music genre that combines folk with electronic music and uses colloquialism in its lyrics. This genre of music, whose name literally means festivals
in Arabic, originated in the Cairo slums in the early 2000s. Its beat resembles that of American rap and, like rap, its lyrics contain sexual innuendos, racy words and obscenities.
These songs have entered every household in Egypt through the
internet and smartphones, Amer told Al-Monitor. A mother, a sister, a wife or daughter should never be exposed to such words because they are offensive and often sexist.
The lyrics of one of these songs -- Bent el-Geran (The Neighbor's Daughter)
by Hassan Shakosh and Omar Kamal -- ignited on Feb. 14 the debate on mahraganat. The song's lyrics suggest alcohol and hashish -- both of which are forbidden in Islam -- to get over a heartbreak.
The suggestion of alcohol and hashish angered many
critics, the powerful Egyptian Musicians Syndicate and parliamentarians, including Amer. They argued that the song was an attack on the public taste and encouragement of immorality.
Onward is a 2020 USA children's cartoon comedy by Dan Scanlon. Starring Tom Holland, Chris Pratt and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf
brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, go on an journey to discover if there is still a little magic left out there in order to spend one last day with their father, who died when they were too young to remember him.
Disney's latest Pixar
cartoon Onward has been banned by several Middle Eastern countries because of a reference to lesbian parents. The film will not be shown in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Police officer Specter, voiced by Lena Waithe, has been heralded as
Disney-Pixar's first openly gay character. Her lines include: It's not easy being a parent... my girlfriend's daughter got me pulling my hair out, OK?
Other Middle East countries, Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt are showing the film.
according to Deadline, Russia censored the scene in question by changing the word girlfriend to partner and avoiding mentioning the gender of Specter, who is a supporting character.
Meanwhile in the US the christian website LifeSiteNews has launched
a petition calling for a boycott of the movie. Gualberto Garcia Jones Director of Advocacy for LifeSite whinged:
It's a relentless onslaught against our children's innocence. And, we parents have got to be just as
relentless in rejecting Disney's attempt to sexualize our children.
The petition has been signed by about 55,000 people and states:
By forcing the LGBT agenda on us, you are seriously disrespecting our
values. The days are now over where we would give you our hard-earned dollars just so you can turn around and offend us and our children's innocence. Please do not pursue this agenda again in the future.
It came as little surprise to Kuwaiti artist Shurooq Amin that her latest exhibition was shut down by the authorities just a week after it opened. Her work has always sparked controversy.
Amin's most recent defiant display, Like Russian Dolls We
Nest in Previous Selves , opened on 8 January. It was planned to run for a month at the Contemporary Art Platform (CAP). But a week after opening, the exhibition was dramatically shut down and her work ordered to be removed.
released no official statement , the gallery said they were told they hadn't obtained a prior licence from the concerned authorities and that there were claims that the exhibition contained elements in violation of the publishing law of the Ministry of
In Like Russian Dolls We Nest in Previous Selves , a set of portraits show women sitting on thrones, some in revealing clothing and languid poses with bottles of what appears to be alcohol.
In the main gallery space, mannequins were
positioned to look like visitors viewing the artwork. In a country where alcohol is illegal, the bottles might be controversial enough. But the conservatively veiled mannequins looking at the portraits of the scantily clad women may also have