Muslim Hate of Dancing

Egypt moves to ban alcohol, belly dancing

February 18, 2013
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

CAIRO: Two years after the Egyptian revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, liberals are increasingly concerned that the ruling Islamists are out to curb personal freedoms and build a society in their own image. Nabil Abbas, the vice president of the New Urban Communities Authorities, told Reuters Sunday that the government would no longer issue licenses for the sale of alcohol in new residential settlements on the outskirts of Cairo, Alexandria and other big cities.

“NUCA has stopped renewing licenses to sell alcohol but the current ones will continue until they expire,” Abbas said.

“Representatives of the residents in new suburbs complained that the sale of alcohol leads to problems including attacking women and randomly ringing doorbells of people’s homes.”

Islamist President Mohammad Mursi’s government increased taxes on alcoholic beverages in December but then backed down after the move was criticized.

Earlier this month, an Egyptian court ordered the suspension of YouTube for a month for broadcasting a film insulting the Prophet Mohammad.

And a court in Egypt Sunday ordered a TV channel that airs belly dancing clips off the air for showing “sexually explicit” content and operating without a broadcast license. The judge Saturday said that ElTet airs ads that are “offensive” and can “arouse” viewers. The station carries advertisements for sexual enhancement products and matchmaking services.

A satirical poster circulated online Sunday in response to the alcohol curb. It listed some of Egypt’s main problems including road accidents, police brutality and poverty then showed a cartoon of Mursi dressed as Superman and that says “Must save Egypt from porn, alcohol and YouTube.”

Separately Sunday, thousands of demonstratorsblocked access to the harbor and rallied outside state buildings in Port Said Sunday, to demand justice over the deaths of dozens of people killed in anti-government riots last month.

About 60 people have been killed since late January in protests that erupted after the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Mubarak.

Port Said was one of three provinces where Mursi declared a 30-day state of emergency.

Opposition groups have criticized Mursi’s perceived drift toward authoritarianism, which they say fueled this year’s unrest.

Amidst the continuing violence, Egypt’s chief of staff said Sunday that the country’s armed forces, which has for decades been at the center of power, will avoid involvement in politics but could still have a role if things became “complicated.”

Speaking at an industry event in Abu Dhabi, Maj. Gen. Sedki Sobhi said that in a week or 15 days some kind of national dialogue would take shape between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and oppositiongroups.

The army would not back any political party, he said.

“We are not political, we don’t want to participate in the political situation because we suffered a lot because of this in the last six months,” he said.

“But sometimes we can help in this problem, we can play this role if the situation became more complicated,” he said without elaborating.

Liberal and Islamist political leaders met privately Saturday to try to ease the latest tensions.

Politicians said Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent liberal activist and leader of the National Salvation Front, met Saad el-Katatni, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ruling Freedom and Justice Party. Another leader of the NSF, Sayed el-Badawi, also took part in the talks.


Swat 'dancing girls' must leave

BBC News
March 4, 2009

An agreement has been made in Pakistan's troubled Swat valley to remove dancing girls from the main town of Mingora, a top official has said.

Malakand Commissioner Mohammed Javed told the BBC that an agreement had also been made for shops and businesses in Swat to close during prayer times.

Militants and officials recently agreed a truce as they try to implement a peace deal that will bring Sharia law.

However, more violence on Tuesday has put the truce under increased strain.

Suspected militants shot and killed two soldiers and kidnapped an official.

'Talebanisation'

Mr Javed told the BBC that the agreement to remove the dancing girls and close businesses during prayers was agreed between him and Sufi Mohammad, the cleric who is brokering the peace deal between the government and militants in Swat.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Pakistan says that critics of the deal see it as part of the growing Talebanisation of Swat and proof that the militants are increasingly exerting their influence despite President Asif Ali Zardari's recent assertions that Pakistan has not and will not negotiate with "extremist Taleban and terrorists".

Our correspondent says that the decision to make the dancing girls leave Mingora effectively means they have been sent into internal exile and that Swat is now embracing an Islamic legal system that also pronounces on social and political questions.

The Taleban have destroyed nearly 200 schools, most of them for girls, during a sustained campaign against secular education in Swat.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Mr Zardari said that the "clerics" with whom his government had engaged in Swat valley were not the Taleban.

"Indeed, in our dialogue we'd made it clear that it is their responsibility to rein in and neutralise Taleban and other insurgents," he wrote.

"If they do so and lay down their arms, this initiative will have succeeded for the people of Swat Valley. If not, our security forces will act accordingly."

Mr Zardari said that "this process of weaning reconcilable elements of an insurgency away from the irreconcilables has been mischaracterised in the West".

He said that Pakistan would "not condone" the closing of girls' schools in Swat.

"Indeed, the government insists that the education of young women is mandatory. This is not an example of the government condoning or capitulating to extremism - quite the opposite."

Mr Zardari said Pakistan's fight against terrorism was "relentless" and the government had conducted a number of operations against militants.

Swat has been the scene of bloody clashes between militants and government forces since November 2007.

More than 1,000 civilians have died in shelling by the army or from beheadings sanctioned by the Taleban. Thousands more have been displaced.

 

Belly dancing gets Malaysia all shook up

By Pauline Jasudason

Kuala Lumpur - To the hypnotic strains of Middle Eastern drums and flutes, Nancy Bakhshy shouts instructions to nine students shimmying, shaking and undulating in fluid movements.

"That's good, very good!" she says as all nine manage a move worthy of a contortionist - gradually kneeling, then lowering themselves further by stretching backward so the upper body is parallel to the floor, all the while shaking to staccato drum beats.

Snaking its way into popular urban culture, belly dancing is becoming a hobby among middle class Malaysians, despite a general perception that the dance is too provocative for this conservative, mainly Muslim country.

Says Bakhshy, a dancer and teacher: "In the beginning, they thought it was something like lap dancing, something too sexy, for seduction. So it was like, 'No, no!'"

Bakhshy, who is from Azerbaijan but has lived in Malaysia for 13 years, pioneered belly dancing classes here three years ago. Today, belly dancing schools have spread over Kuala Lumpur. It's hard to estimate the number of students, but even fitness centres and gyms offer classes now.

"It's the most happening thing at the moment thanks to pop stars like Beyoncé and Shakira, who incorporate belly dancing moves into their routines," says Foong Yuh Ling, 35, an ethnic Chinese who also teaches belly dancing.

Bakhshy draws about 30 students a day and performs at private shows. She is experimenting with introducing fusion Middle Eastern-Indian styles: belly dancing to the beat of the Punjabi music known as bhangra.

Her daughters - Mandana, 17 and Niloufar, 16 - often go along to her performances, and she says the art has been passed down through generations of women in her family. Both her grandmothers learned it from their mothers. She began taking lessons from her mother when she was 5.

Bakhsy's students range from housewives to students to executives in their 40s.

She says she started off teaching the elite - even some of the country's royalty - but more students now come from humbler backgrounds, even from among conservative Muslims.

Believing that the dance would be better understood if taught in the context of Middle Eastern culture, Bakhshy has been organising "haflas", or Arabian parties, meant specially for women, and introducing to them Arabian food and music.

Still, the dance is far from being universally accepted. Earlier in 2005, a Malaysian state's lawmakers came under fire for organising an official trip to Egypt that included a belly dance show. The trip was cancelled following an uproar.

Harussani Zakaria, a prominent Malaysian cleric, says belly dancing is forbidden by Islam.

"Firstly, because they show their belly and tempt and arouse people and secondly they wear transparent or too little clothes."

To Bakhshy, the dance is empowering for women, especially in conservative communities.

"Women slowly come out of that shell that forces you to believe that you cannot laugh, you cannot dance, you cannot move, you cannot be too sexy," she says.

"I'm nearly 40, I'm fat... but it doesn't matter. Size doesn't matter, age doesn't matter, I'm still hot." - Sapa-AP

 

Belly dancers shaking things up in Muslim Malaysia; 'something too sexy'

Friday, October 28, 2005

Pauline Jasudason

Canadian Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - To the hypnotic strains of Middle Eastern drums and flutes, Nancy Bakhshy shouts instructions to nine students who shimmy, shake and undulate in fluid movements.

"That's good, very good!" she says when all nine manage a move worthy of a contortionist - gradually kneeling, then lowering themselves further by stretching backward so the upper body is parallel to the floor, all the while shaking their chests to staccato drum beats.

Snaking its way into popular urban culture, belly dancing is becoming a popular activity among middle-class Malaysians, despite a general perception that the dance is too provocative for this conservative, mainly Muslim country.

"It's not that common in Malaysia to have this type of dance as part of the culture," says Bakhshy, an Azerbaijani dancer and the most sought-after teacher. "In the beginning they thought belly dancing is something like lap dancing - something too sexy, for seduction. So it was like, 'No, no!' "

Bakhshy, who has lived in Malaysia for 13 years, pioneered belly dancing classes in the country, starting three years ago after being urged on by her Malaysian friends.

Today, belly dancing schools have mushroomed all over Kuala Lumpur. Bakhshy said it is difficult to estimate the number of schools or students, but points out that even fitness centres and gyms offer classes, attesting to the growing demand.

"It's the most happening thing at the moment thanks to pop stars like Beyonce, Britney Spears, Shakira who incorporate a lot of belly dancing moves into their routines," said Foong Yuh Ling, 35, an ethnic Chinese who also teaches belly dance.

Bakhshy draws about 30 students a day at different dance studios. She also performs at private functions of political leaders and tycoons, and is experimenting with fusion Middle Eastern-Indian styles, including belly dancing to the beat of bhangra - a lively folk music from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan.

Often in tow at these functions are her understudies - daughters Mandana, 17 and Niloufar, 16.

Bakhshy said the art has been passed down from mother to daughter through the generations in her family. She remembers that both her grandmothers had learned it from their mothers. She began taking lessons from her mother in Azerbaijan when she was five.

Called Raqs Sharqi in Arabic, the dance has been part of the tradition in Iran, Egypt and other parts of Middle East since pre-Islamic times. Both men and women took part, but the sexes danced separately.

Bakhsy's students range from housewives to students to executives in their 40s who dance for fitness and for fun.

"My husband told me to come," said one student, Yulia Kiseleva, a shy, 21-year-old Russian housewife who has lived in Malaysia for the past two years.

Bakhshy says she started off teaching the elite and members of the country's royalty, but more students now come from humbler backgrounds - even conservative Muslims, who are not comfortable with Western dances because it involves having a male partner. That means, "they have to touch other guys and they're not going to do that," she said.

"But with belly dancing, it's only women dancing so they feel comfortable to come and expose and just come out of that closed feeling."

Bakhshy believes that the dance would be better understood if taught in the context of Middle Eastern culture, and has been organizing haflas, or Arabian parties, meant especially for women. She's introduced the women to Arabian cuisine and music.

Now "they like it more and they accept it," Bakhshy says. "They don't look at just belly dancing and think: 'No! No! No!' "

Still, belly dancing is far from being universally accepted.

Harussani Zakaria, a prominent Malaysian cleric, says belly dancing is "haram," or forbidden by Islam.

"Firstly, because they show their belly and tempt and arouse people who are watching and secondly they wear transparent or too little clothes," he said.

To Bakhshy, the dance is empowering for women, especially in conservative communities.

"Women slowly come out of that shell that forces you to believe that you cannot laugh, you cannot dance, you cannot move, you cannot be too sexy," she says.

"I'm nearly 40. I'm fat, I'm not small, I'm not shapely . . . but it doesn't matter. Size doesn't matter, age doesn't matter, I'm still hot."

 

Muslim girl ostracised for learning Bharatanatyam!
By S. Chandrasekhar

Kerala has always been a model to the world. While in earlier days it was social reformers like Adi Sankara, Sree Narayana Guru, etc. in modern times it is its predominance in education, health care, land reforms etc. Now Kerala is becoming a model for the wrong reasons— Communalisation and Islamisation of the education sector, thanks to the dominance of the Muslim League Ministers in this crucial portfolio.

Majority of the schools, colleges, B.Ed. Colleges, Medical and Engineering Colleges and Nursing institutions in North Kerala are under the control of Muslims. In addition to these thousands of madrasas are functioning in the State with funding from the state sponsored Wakf Board.

While last week it was the case of Muslim students of a Christian Management School being prevented from going on their annual excursion because the itenary consisted Churches, this week it is the case of a Muslim girl and her family facing social ostracism because she is learning Bharatanatyam and Keralanatanam. V.P. Rubiya, daughter of Alavikutty is a class 10 student at Morayur High School, Kondotty, Malappuram District. She started learning Bharatanatyam, traditional Kerala dances and folk dances out of burning desire to participate in the State School Arts Festival. The local Mosque ordered her to desist from this move. When Rubiya resisted and continued with her resolved, she and her family were subjected to ostracism. They were kept out of the Mosque and other Muslims were warned against dealing with them. They were denied the relief given during Ramzan. The parents fear that they may not be able to find a bridegroom for the girl since no imam will solemnise the wedding of a family ostracised by a mosque.

Undaunted by the threat and due to the support of her family and teachers, the girl participated in the festival and won prizes in the categories.

We have heard of books on Kathakali, Bharatanatyam and Indian Culture being confiscated and destroyed in Airports of Saudi Arabia, but what is happening in Kerala, a highly educated state, is shameful. Will the communists who shout from the roof-top against communalism wake up or will they shut their eyes in these days of vote-bank politics and elections.

 

Travolta's dancing is a danger to your daughters, Hamza told his followers
By Duncan Gardham
(Filed: 14/01/2006)

Abu Hamza, the Muslim cleric, told his followers that John Travolta's dancing posed a danger to their daughters, a court was told yesterday.

The Hollywood actor was at the centre of an anti-West sermon by Hamza, who also told his audience to rob and steal from non-believers.

In a taped address shown to the Old Bailey, the former radical imam of Finsbury Park Mosque, north London, said: "Now you ask a woman, 'Go, I have a good husband for you.'

"This brother he's a mujahid [freedom fighter] and she looks at him and says, 'Oh look, his forehead is black, probably he's praying'. She likes John Travolta, who is dancing and moving his stomach as quick as the - as I don't know what - and she likes that because if he was wearing the proper dress which has been imposed on him by Muslims she wouldn't even think about him."

He warned that girls would learn new words at school and would look their fathers in the eye and tell them: "I don't care a tin monkey about you, father."

Hamza, 47, is accused of nine counts of soliciting to murder, four counts of using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour and two further counts of possessing abusive recordings with a view to distribution and possession of a document useful to preparing terrorism.

Advising his followers on bringing up their sons to avoid a "hashish life", he said in the sermon: "Once a child reaches 10 years old then you have to teach him some kind of thing which is scouting, sleeping rough, sleeping tough, going for training, sweating, getting a couple of punches in his face.

"Teach him the reality of life and then show him how to become a good mujahid."

In another tape he added: "We teach our wives through television how to answer back - is that clever?" He also said: "We invite the Kaffir [non-believer] with all their obscenity and dirty manners into our house and keep flicking channels to see this."

Hamza said selling "top-shelf magazines" featuring "nudism" was forbidden and called on his followers to kill anyone who gives out licences for "wine shops".

"Kaffir blood is halal [permitted] it means he can be killed, his money can be taken unless he accepts shahada [witness]," Hamza added.

"Killing of the Kaffir for any reason you can say it is OK, even if there is no reason for it. You doing shoplifting and you break by force and you take it, this is OK."

Talking about immigrants, he added: "If he came as a secular person, then he comes with a different name in a false passport, calling himself Simon blah blah blah and he's Mohammad then he can, he can, he can kill. He can everything."

A translation of a sermon allegedly delivered by Hamza in Arabic was read out in which he was said to have claimed that British people "hate Jews more than we do" and that Hitler had punished the Jews for their "dealings and treachery".

In what appeared to be similar lectures delivered at Finsbury Park in Arabic, Hamza spoke of the "jihad [holy war] of the gun and the bomb and the Kalashnikov."

 

Sexy moves upset some

FROM her name to her famous hips, Inul Daratista attracts controversy.

19 April 2006

FROM her name to her famous hips, Inul Daratista attracts controversy.

Inul's real name is Ainul Rokhimah. Her stage name means the girl with breasts.

Her famous goyang ngebor (drilling move) where she gyrates her hips at pneumatic speed had made more than just her male fans hot under the collar.

Indonesian religious groups made her the poster girl of immorality.

In 2003, the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) declared her performances pornographic.

It said that her rump-shaking encouraged lustful acts, citing an alleged case where a fan raped a woman after one of Inul's concerts.

In the same year, the authorities banned her from performing in Yogyakarta.

They declared that she would 'degrade the morality of the highly civilised and educated residents', reported Time magazine.

A ban was enforced in several conservative towns and cities across Indonesia. The ban is still in effect.

Even Malaysia banned a musical that featured Inul from being screened.

CORRUPTING DANGDUT

In 2004, the women's wing of the Muslim group Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) organised a parliamentary legislative team who proposed that sexy dangdut performances like Inul's be banned under an anti-pornography Bill.

In January this year, she was attacked by Rhoma Irama - once considered Indonesia's dangdut king- for her sexy performances.

Rhoma, who is retired and is a Muslim cleric, said that Inul's hip swivelling is pornographic and had to be banned.

It corrupted dangdut, he said.

Rhoma has been credited for cleaning up dangdut's bawdy lyrics and making it politically correct in the 1980s.

However, all these criticisms have not dented Inul's phenomenal popularity.

After all, she has fans in high places.

Former president Abdurrahman Wahid, or Gus Dur, was reportedly a fan.

So was Taufik Kiemas, husband of another former president, Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Mr Taufik was photographed dancing behind Inul and had allegedly hugged her.

It became tabloid fodder.

'All these people who say that I am porno are just jealous of me,' Inul told The New Paper.

 

The Last Egyptian Belly Dancer

Rich Saudis are transforming Cairo's entertainment scene.

By Rod Nordland | NEWSWEEK

Jun 9, 2008 Issue

Abir Sabri, celebrated for her alabaster skin, ebony hair, pouting lips and full figure, used to star in racy Egyptian TV shows and movies. Then, at the peak of her career a few years ago, she disappeared—at least her face did. She began performing on Saudi-owned religious TV channels, with her face covered, chanting verses from the Qur'an. Conservative Saudi Arabian financiers promised her plenty of work, she says, as long as she cleaned up her act. "It's the Wahhabi investors," she says, referring to the strict form of Sunni Islam prevalent in Saudi Arabia. "Before, they invested in terrorism—and now they put their money in culture and the arts."

Egyptians deplore what they call the Saudization of their culture. Egypt has long dominated the performing arts from Morocco to Iraq, but now petrodollar-flush Saudi investors are buying up the contracts of singers and actors, reshaping the TV and film industries and setting a media agenda rooted more in strict Saudi values than in those of freewheeling Egypt. "As far as I'm concerned, this is the biggest problem in the Middle East right now," says mobile-phone billionaire Naquib Sawiris. "Egypt was always very liberal, very secular and very modern. Now ..." He gestures from the window of his 26th-floor Cairo office: "I'm looking at my country, and it's not my country any longer. I feel like an alien here."

At the Grand Hyatt Cairo, a mile upstream along the Nile, the five-star hotel's Saudi owner banned alcohol as of May 1 and ostentatiously ordered its $1.4 million inventory of booze flushed down the drains. "A hotel in Egypt without alcohol is like a beach without a sea," says Aly Mourad, chairman of Studio Masr, the country's oldest film outfit. He says Saudis—who don't even have movie theaters in their own country—now finance 95 percent of the films made in Egypt. "They say, here, you can have our money, but there are just a few little conditions." More than a few, actually; the 35 Rules, as moviemakers call them, go far beyond predictable bans against on-screen hugging, kissing or drinking. Even to show an empty bed is forbidden, lest it hint that someone might do something on it. Saudi-owned satellite channels are buying up Egyptian film libraries, heavily censoring some old movies while keeping others off the air entirely.

Some Egyptians say the new prudishness isn't entirely the Saudis' fault. "Films are becoming more conservative because the whole society is becoming more conservative," says filmmaker Marianne Khoury, who says Saudi cash has been a lifeline to the 80-year-old industry. From a peak of more than 100 films yearly in the 1960s and '70s, Egyptian studios' output plunged to only a half dozen a year in the '90s. Thanks to Saudi investors, it's now about 40. "If they stopped, there would be no Egyptian films," says Khoury.

At least a few Egyptians say Saudi Arabia is the country that's ultimately going to change. "Egypt will be back to what it used to be," predicts the single-named Dina, one of Egypt's few remaining native-born belly dancers. And it was a Saudi production company that financed a 2006 drama that frankly discusses homosexuality, "The Yacoubian Building." Sawiris has launched a popular satellite-TV channel of his own, showing uncensored American movies. He's determined to win—but he's only one billionaire, and Saudi Arabia is swarming with them.

With Gameela Ismail in Cairo

 

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