Egyptian singer sentenced to two years in prison for ‘explicit’ music video in which she eats a banana

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Mike Dorner

Pop singer Shyma faces a two year prison sentence after her recent music video was deemed sexually explicit.

Egyptian pop singer Shyma (full name Shaimaa Ahmed) has been sentenced to two years in prison for “inciting debauchery” following the release of her single I Have Issues. The accompanying music video sees her dancing around in her underwear before appearing in front of a classroom of men, pouring milk over a banana and eating it – she later licks an apple and tastes a bit of icing from a slice of cake.

Shortly after the video was released on her Facebook page in November, a campaign led by influential male blogger and presenter Marwan Younis was launched. Posting a video on his own Facebook account, he called for his followers to report Shyma’s page because of its ‘sexually explicit’ content.

The singer’s page was subsequently shut down, and she was arrested. Shyma issued an apology as she was criticised not only by the Egyptian press but politicians as well.

The Independent reports MP Jalal Awara saying: “The content of the video clip is harmful to Egyptian society. There must be a firm stance against promoters of this substandard art”.

As well as the prison ruling, Shyma was fined £420; the music video’s director, Mohammed Gamal, received the same sentence. She had posted on her (now deleted) Facebook page: “I didn’t imagine all this would happen and that I would be subjected to such a strong attack from everyone, as a young singer … who has dreamt from a young age of being a singer”.

In 2015, an Egyptian court sentenced two female dancers to six months each in prison for the same offence -’inciting debauchery’. In 2013, Egypt was voted the worst for women out of 22 Arab countries, because of its persistently high levels of sexual harassment, female genital mutilation and growth of conservative Islamist groups. 

The Telegraph reports that Shyma was seen in court wearing a niqab which covered her face, and reading the Qur’an while waiting for her sentence to be issued; both her and Gamal will be able to appeal against the ruling. 

Shyma’s Instagram fan page can be seen here.

Main image: Mike Dorner