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"Stay Free of Egypt": Arrest of an Arab Model for Immoral Clothing



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Moral norms are a loose concept that is controversial in religious societies. Even today, a position that contradicts the prevailing understanding of public decency can be imprisoned in some countries – and even celebrities are not dissatisfied.

Rania Youssef, an Egyptian actress and model, is facing litigation charges of public obscenity for what critics say is her insightful look at the red carpet.

44-year-old Youssef wore a revealing dress at the closing ceremony of the Cairo Film Festival on Thursday. She was photographed and posed on the red carpet in a black jersey with a sheer overdress that showed her legs.

Two Egyptian lawyers, Amro Abdelsalam and Samir Sabri, filed a lawsuit against the actress, who indicted "the abolition of debauchery". Samir Sabri said Youssef's clothing "did not conform to social values, traditions and customs, undermining the reputation of the festival and, in particular, the reputation of Egyptian women."


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REUTERS / Mohamed Soliman

Egyptian actor Rania Youssef attends the CIFF closing ceremony in Cairo

According to AFP, Youssef will go to court on January 1

2 to face charges. She could be jailed for up to five years if convicted.

The case sparked public outrage in social media, and some claim that the Egyptian laws are our era.

The actress apologized in a Facebook post to "any Egyptian family annoyed by her dress" and said that she goes along with the "values ​​and ethics" in Egyptian society. She also said she would not have chosen the dress if she had known that it would cause public indignation.

Egypt is a country where Muslims make up an overwhelming majority (nearly 90% of the population versus 10% of Christians). The Egyptian legal system is based on various European laws and Islamic law (Sharia). Article 2 of the 2014 Egyptian Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the state and that Sharia principles are the main source of legislation.


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REUTERS / Mohamed Soliman

Egyptian actor Rania Youssef attends CIFF's closing ceremony in Cairo

Youssef's case is not the first time that an Egyptian celebrity can go to court for violating public policy. Pop singer Leila Amer was sentenced to two years' imprisonment in March for starring in a "suggestive" dance music video and was called a "moral disaster" by the lawyer who filed the lawsuit. Singer Sherine was sentenced to six months in prison for "insulting Egypt." Sherine was brought to court for a music clip in which she warned a fan against drinking from the Nile because he might get parasites.


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