Egypt Beyonce concert gets condemnation from Islamists, but not all
|Monday, November 9,2009 16:39|
American pop-star Beyonce sparked outrageous statements from a member of Egypt’s largest and most powerful opposition Muslim Brotherhood group over the weekend after performing in the North African nation for the first time. Hamdy Hassan, a member of the Brotherhood’s Parliamentary bloc, continued his opposition to the concert that has begun days before the concert on Friday.
Hassan, who has received much scorn from the moderate Brotherhood members in recent days over his voiceful opposition to the Beyonce concert, wrote that her planned “sex party” threatened Egypt’s “social peace and stability.”
“I do not know who agreed to this sinful, unacceptable advertisement, or indeed who agreed to these blatant sex parties,” Hassan wrote, accusing the government of encouraging “sin and debauchery.”
Beyonce had canceled a concert in Malaysia after Islamists in that country lashed out against the American star. But, in Egypt, a country long promoting its freedom and openness, welcomed the star in myriad ways.
An anti-Beyonce Facebook group was started and had around 10,000 followers in opposition to the concert. One poster published on the site showed a silhouette of a woman with a red line drawn across saying “This is not Egypt.”
Not everyone was against the concert, including up-and-coming Brotherhood blogger and Bikya Masr blogumnis Abdelrahman Ayyash, who wrote that Egypt should not be concerned with the concert, saying he opposed the American star’s visit, but for entirely different reasons.
“I oppose holding any concert in Egypt where ticket prices will be about 2200 Egyptian pounds, coming at a time when governmental reports said that the income of the average Egyptian citizen is about 7000 LE (about $1250) per year,” he wrote.
Ahmed Beltagi, the event’s organizer said that “we are Muslims too … this will not stop Egypt from hosting an award-winning, first class artist,” Beltagi said.
“We should salute her instead of criticizing her,” he said of the diva in comments carried by the Associated Press.
Thousands of Egyptians and foreigners were expected to converge on Port Ghalib on Friday to see the superstar perform. The distance, coupled with the ticket costs, did spark some frustration and anger among both Egyptians and foreigners, who felt it was an attempt to ensure only the rich and elite would see Beyonce perform.
“There is no way that you would ever see the average ticket price be that much in the States. It is simply ridiculous to have a concert in Egypt costing more than $300 for a person to go to,” said an American archaeologist.
Heba Mahmoud, a 27-year-old graduate student, argued that the concert organizers are using the distance – Port Ghalib is some 9 hours away from Cairo by car – and the ticket costs to “keep the poor away.”
She said that “most Egyptians know Beyonce and like her, but the fact they put her way out there means only a certain segment of society can attend and that was wrong.”