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.
Rocketman is a 2019 UK / USA musical music biography by Dexter Fletcher. Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Taron Egerton and Richard Madden.
The Malaysian film censor has cut scenes which depicted depicted men kissing and
having sex with one another. Safaruddin Mohammad Ali, head of the Film Censorship Board explained:
We do not allow any scenes that promote LGBTQ in films that are for public viewing.
film censor commented that although it is about the real life of Elton John, it is not for him to allow the public to see whatever he does or whatever activities he indulges in that is not our culture,
The film was also cut by the distributors in
Russia over fears of the country's anti gay laws. Rocket man was also banned in Samoa.
A major Lebanese music festival has cancelled a concert by the country's best-known rock band, Mashrou' Leila , to prevent bloodshed after church leaders accused the group of blasphemy.
The Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Byblos claimed last
week that Mashrou' Leila's songs violate religious values and demanded the gig be pulled. Facebook users had threatened to stop the show by force, with some claiming to be God's Soldiers.
Lawmakers in Byblos urged the festival's organisers to pull
the concert to respect sanctities and morals.
The Byblos festival duly cancelled explaining that it was forced to cancel the group's performance next week on security grounds. Christians had threatened to attack the concert if it went ahead.
Mashrou' Leila's lead singer is openly gay and the band tackles taboos that few other Arab musicians have explored.
The band blamed a defamatory campaign relying exclusively on fabrications that couldn't be further from the truth. The band said
in a statement:
We are not on some sort of mission to arbitrarily blaspheme and disrespect people's religious symbols.