Egypt: Singer released after paying bail on contempt of religion charges

18 January 2016

shaaban abdel rahim
Shaaban Abdel Rahim, famed and controversial Egyptian folklore singer, was under legal and public attacks for the Youtube release of a video of him singing Qur’an lyrics while wearing the religious clothing of Al-Azhar clerics, which landed him in jail, reported The Cairo Post.

Attorney Mohammed Kamal filed a claim in October 2015 against Abdel Rahim accusing him of “mockery and insulting the Qur’an” for posting a video clip on social media networks and YouTube on 18 September 2015 showing him singing religious verses.

The claim noted that the singer offended Al-Azhar clerics and scholars by wearing their clothing and mocked the Qur’an by singing in his “popular” style and intonation, and that he added some lyrics from his own songs to the verses.

The Public Prosecutor in Cairo began investigating the claim on 5 January 2016 and reached the decision of releasing the singer on bail for 10,000 Egyptian Pounds (approx. 1,275 USD) on 9 January 2016 without pursuing any further legal action.

Charges were also brought against the second man in the video, Khaled Al Tablawi, an approved Qur’an reciter, who is shown correcting Abdel Rahim’s verses; his case is still pending.

Shaaban, no stranger to pushing the buttons of authorities and others, has always a been controversial, yet popular singer on Egyptian streets. In 2014 he drew ire and death threats from ISIS and its suporters when he released a song mocking the group. He has also released sensationalist songs about Israel, Iraq, the Muhammed cartoon controversy and the September 11 attacks.


» The Cairo Post – 9 January 2016:
Shabaan Abdel Rahim released on bail of 10,000 pounds on charges of contempt of religion

» MBC – 9 January 2016:
Shaaban Abdel Rahim released on bail in the case of defamation of religion

» Al Arabiya – 19 November 2014:
Death threats to Egypt singer after anti-ISIS song

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