Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fundamentalism fears: Egyptian artists worry about growing Islamic fervor in Egypt

As reported by Jack Epstein for the San Francisco Chronicle, film-makers, writers and other artists in Egypt are noticing new trends in restrictions on their freedom of artistic expression. According to Epstein, while most would assume the majority of the censorship is coming from Mubarak’s government, there is also strong opposition coming from the Egyptian people themselves—specifically, the Egyptian Islamic Fundamentalists.

According to this piece,

“She found the death threat pinned to her car. The words ‘Your destiny’ were scrawled near guns pointed at a photo of Anwar Sadat, Egypt's assassinated president.

“It wasn't the first time Egyptian fundamentalists had tried to intimidate Inas al-Degheidy, Egypt's first female movie director, whose films typically depict heroines struggling against social discrimination and sexual exploitation.

“‘When I began making films in the 1980s, I didn't have many problems,’ she says. ‘Fundamentalism hadn't taken hold yet. Now, 10 percent of Egyptians like me. The other 90 percent want to kill me.’

“Degheidy, 52, and many other Egyptian artists say they worry about growing Islamic fundamentalism in a nation long known for being a cultural and secular center in the Arab world.
“In recent years, hundreds of plays, films, novels and academic works have come under scrutiny by religious authorities, who have been given increasing authority over schools, radio, television and publishing houses by President Hosni Mubarak with the understanding that they will support him against the rising influence of militant Islam, many observers say.

“Indeed, an Islamic revival is sweeping across Egypt.”

To read this article in full, click here


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