Daily Israel Report

Traditional Belly Dance TV Banned by Egyptian Court

The Islamization of Egypt continues, with the nation’s court ordering a TV channel off the air that broadcasts belly dance clips.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 2/17/2013, 3:27 PM

Overlooking Cairo
Overlooking Cairo
Flash 90

The Islamization of Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood-backed regime of President Mohamed Morsi continues, with a Cairo court this weekend ordering a TV channel off the air that broadcasts belly dance clips.

The judge that ordered the ban said Saturday night that the satellite television station EIT et broadcasts “sexually explicit” content and operates without a broadcast license. 

The court added that the station, which operates out of a Cairo apartment 24 hours a day, airs advertisements that are “offensive” and can “arouse” its viewers. 

The channel specializes in broadcasting videos of belly dance performances to Middle Eastern music in traditional costume. The Egyptian form is the more restrained of those practiced in the Middle East, with little floor work, relatively conservative use of body movement, and music based on a four-beat rhythm.

Nevertheless, such a performance is in direct violation of strict Islamic Shari’a standard, which requires women’s bodies to be entirely covered, with the exception of the face. Some radical interpretations require that a woman’s face be entirely veiled as well.

The owner of the satellite channel, Baligh Hamdy, was arrested for a brief time last year and accused of promoting prostitution, but quickly freed.

Also on Saturday, a second television channel was pulled off the air for 30 days by a separate court. The judge in that case issued the injunction against religious channel al-Hafez as a punishment for slandering an Egyptian actress because she had expressed support for the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak.