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Egyptian singer Sherine Abdel Wahab faces court for 'insulting Egypt'

The popular singer is facing charges for the second time in a year after comments at her New Year’s Eve concert
The popular Egyptian singer has come under fire for her comments for a second time (AFP)

Popular Egyptian singer Sherine Abdel Wahab is facing charges for a second time after an Egyptian lawyer filed a complaint against her for making a comment described as “offensive to Egypt” during a New Year’s Eve performance.

Abdel Wahab is reported to have said that Egypt does not deserve her during one of her performances. The comments by Abdel Wahab, who is known across the Arab world, sparked criticism.

According to Egyptian paper Ahram Online, Samir Sabri, a lawyer well known for filing legal complaints against high-profile figures for inciting debauchery, said that the singer insulted Egypt in her comments.

“If she [Abdel-Wahab] only knew that she is the silliest of vicious characters, she wouldn’t have insulted the great Egypt."

Sabri was one of the lawyers who filed a complaint against Egyptian actress Rania Youssef in December for wearing a revealing dress to the Cairo Film Festival. Youssef was accused of “inciting debauchery” and could face five years in prison if convicted.

In a talk show with MBC Masr on 5 January, Abdel Wahab called in and said that her comments were taken out of context, explaining that she was making a joke over technical malfunctions during the concert.

The presenter Amr Adib asks her what happened and how she found out.

“I don’t what’s going on…I feel like my simple and normal remarks are taken wrong," she told Adib. "I just wanted to make a joke out of the situation because there were technical difficulties and I wanted to make it a nice experience for those there.

“I won’t tolerate anyone suggesting that I don’t love my country, that is a red line," Abdel Wahab added. "I’m not upset about what happened, I’m actually happy that this was brought to my attention because it made me realise that sometimes the place where I am is not appropriate for certain jokes.”

Abdel Wahab has previously faced trial after she said the Nile's water was unfit to drink and would lead to illness.

Sherine was on stage in the United Arab Emirates in 2017 when a fan asked that she sing one of her famous songs “Have You Drunk from the Nile?” - to which she replied: “No, you’d get bilharzia! Drink Evian, it’s better.”

Bilharzia is a parasitic disease endemic to Egypt when water is contaminated by infected freshwater snails.

The singer was put on trial in December 2017 on charges of “harming the public interest” after the Musicians Syndicate in Egypt said it would bar her from performing in the country over the remarks.

She was sentenced to six months in prison in February last year but was acquitted on appeal in May.