Thursday, January 10, 2008

Egyptian Film Offends Extremist Religious Scholars

A lesbian sex scene in an Egyptian film has outraged religious scholars, who are telling people not to watch the 'sinful' movie. An Islamic Studies professor at Cairo University wants the Egyptian authorities to prosecute the director and both actresses involved in the scene, Ghada Abdel-Razeq and Sumaya Al-Khashab. Dr Abdel-Sabour Shahin believes the film, Hina Maysara (Until Further Notice), promotes homosexuality and debauchery and destroys morality in society.

Muslim teachers at Al-Azhar University have also slammed the film and support Shahin's indignation. One professor at the University, Elwi Amin, claimed there was no lesbianism in Egypt.He also said that watching scenes of a sexual nature, whether homosexual or heterosexual, was a sin. "Many people in Egypt do not even know what the word 'lesbianism' means. This is the influence of immoral Western culture which controls the media," he told the Al Arabiya News Channel.

One of the actresses, Sumaya Al-Khashab, does not regret making the scene and highlighted it was important to the narrative of the movie:"Whoever watches the movie will realize that this scene was important to the storyline and is not included just to be sensational," she said.

This was not the first homosexual scene in Egyptian cinema, although the previous scene involved men instead of women. Director Khaled Youssef asked people to watch the film before they made up their minds:"I will not respond to those who criticise without even watching the movie. "Lots of people accuse me of apostasy and immorality based on seeing the film poster.