Elham Shahin vs the Sheikh: the legal battle begins
Egyptian actress Elham Shahin is to file a case against Sheikh Abdallah Badr of conservative TV channel 'El-Hafez', who regularly criticises the actress, according to a report on Ahram Arabic news website.
Shahin says that she will be making claims related to the channel's programmes to the Attorney General. She decided to take the case to court after she was mentioned for the second time on the channel in a programme this week, which discussed whether religious scholars should put limits on artistic expression.
During the programme on Saturday, 1 September, one of the presenters said to the sheikh: "If you as a sheikh will discuss economics, then we should get Elham Shahin to discuss religion."
The programme presenter then apologised, adding: "We hope artist Elham Shahin will find God's guidance; who knows." The sheikh then reportedly said: "I hope God guides her, and we would take care of her."
On a previous programme on El-Hafez channel called 'In the Balance of the Quran and Sunnah' Sheikh Abdallah Badr had said on camera that "Elham Shahin is cursed and she will never enter heaven."
Shahin attributed to the attack to a statement she made on television programme 'Ana Wel-Assal' in which she mentioned that she had not voted for the Islamist currents in the elections, and discussed her fears for the future of art in Egypt.
"This is my nature; I am an honest person and I cannot be hypocritical," Shahin told Ahram Arabic.
"I think what is happening now is the dissolution of the Egyptian state, which is built on art and culture," she continued.
"The beginning was with [writer] Naguib Mahfouz, one of the most important icons of Egyptian culture, then actor Adel Imam, along with many other artists, even religious preachers such as Amr Khaled have been attacked by this channel," she adds.
"I would like to ask Al-Azhar and religious institutions if they agree with these sheikhs insulting people. I would also like to ask the Minister of Investment if he agrees with continuing to air the El-Hafez channel."
"We live in a state governed by law, and if this channel discusses religion, from what I understand our religion is about morals and we have to respect each other."