Sherine Censored After Mocking Freedom of Speech Laws in Egypt

Published March 24th, 2019 - 12:29 GMT
Egyptian pop singer, Sherine (Left) The official announcement of Egypt's Musicians Union on banning Sherine from singing (Right)
Egyptian pop singer, Sherine (Left) The official announcement of Egypt's Musicians Union on banning Sherine from singing (Right)

Hundreds of social media users in Egypt and across the Middle East have been joining campaigns in solidarity with the Egyptian pop singer, Sherine after the national Musicians Union in Egypt banned her from singing.

This comes a few days after a video went viral for Sherine during a concert in Bahrain joking about her country and saying: “Here I can say whatever I want. In Egypt, anyone who talks gets imprisoned”.

The video raised controversy and led many people to share it and criticize the singer’s way of mocking her country and some considered it “insulting” Egypt.

In response, the Musicians Union in Egypt went on Friday to the media to officially announce banning the singer from singing anymore and summoning her for questioning over her remarks in Bahrain through which she demonized her country.

According to Samir Sabry, a lawyer known for moral vigilantism and suing celebrities, Sherine has “insulted” her country and this is an invitation to “suspicious rights groups to interfere in Egypt’s affair”.

In fact, Sherine did not say anything wrong.

Egypt for the past five years and under the ruling of Abdel Fattah Sisi has been cracking down on any voices critical of the government. Hundreds of human rights activists, journalists, and others have been put in jail for expressing opposition to the government.

The irony in Sherine’s case is that the government decided to prosecute her for expressing her opinion or even joking about it, instead of proving the opposite.

Sherine, who hosts the Arabic version of The Voice has a wide fan base across Egypt and the Middle East.

Despite her apology for the remarks, the Musicians’ Union did not retract their decision. It led her fans to go to social media to launch campaigns supporting her.

On hashtag #متضامن_مع_شيرين [I Support Sherien], hundreds went to express their support and solidarity attempting to put more pressure on the Egyptian authorities to suspend the ban. Arab human rights activists also joined the calls.

Translation: “The singer Sherine Abdel Wahhab said and maybe unintentionally: “Whoever speaks freely in Egypt, goes to jail” and instead of proving her wrong, the Egyptian government provided her with another evidence that what she said was in fact true.”

The campaign was even joined by people who are not fans of Sherine, however, they believed in her right to speak freely about her country.

Many also mocked the Egyptian authorities reaction in actually proving her point right.

Translation: “Sherine said while in Bahrain that whoever speaks freely in Egypt goes to jail. So, we are going to jail her to prove that what she said is wrong.”

This is not the first time Sherine makes controversial remarks. Earlier in 2017, the singer was handed six-month prison sentence that was suspended upon appeal, for making fun of the Nile River during one of her concerts. A video of Sherine saying that drinking water from the river might lead to parasitic infections went viral and led to massive controversy.

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