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Steamy Serials


With Ramadan soaps winding down to a close, here’s the word on the street about what many have branded “inappropriate” Ramadan viewing.
By Omneya Makhlouf


No to the withdrawal of Halaweet Rooh. No to movie censorship.”

Egyptian journalist and blogger Wael Abbas, on Twitter


Women were well represented in this season’s TV dramas and that they appear strong and positive.”

Tarek al-Shennawi, Art Critic


The excessive violence against women and the stereotype of the female [belly] dancer are the dominating examples of this year’s Ramadan TV series. The positive model for breadwinning, working women was not apparent in any series, although they represent a large portion of the Egyptian society.”

Hoda Badran, Head of the Egyptian Feminist Union


Belly dancing is a favorite genre of entertainment for lots of Egyptians. A lot of intellectuals even refer to it in arguments about the (true) cultural Egyptian identity that was threatened with being wiped out under Islamism. A lot of these intellectuals fail to notice the patriarchal context in which this art is invariably presented: The amusement tends to come from the male joy of watching a female figure performing seductive moves. Maybe this is where religious conservatism will — inshallah — manage to protect women and their bodies from being used in that way, and stop scenes of nightclubs and half-naked women dancing for drunk customers of hitting the screens at random times when anybody could be watching. Or maybe religious conservatism won’t. It will also be your fault.”

Andeel, satirical blogger, Mada Masr


There were no good examples of women in this season’s TV dramas. Despite the good performance levels of the series Segn al-Nesa (Women’s Prison), it gave a distorted image of reality that women only worked as drug dealers, dancers, or killers.”

Mona Omar, Secretary-General of the National Council for Women Ambassador, speaking to Youm7


It contradicts the spirit of Ramadan and further emphasizes the practices that we’ve gotten used to. If Ramadan is supposed to be a month of patience and empathizing with the poor, then the messages of TV programs in Ramadan should be about self-betterment and community development. I’m not against freedom of press of course, but Ramadan is not the time for controversial social taboos.”

Ismail Makhlouf, Engineer


Ramadan is supposed to be a time of piety and religious reflection. Open talk of sex on TV is frowned upon throughout the year – but it’s outright shocking during the holy month, when Muslims believe Islam’s holy book the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).”

Sarah El Deeb, Associate Press Writer, The Seattle Times


There must be a strict role for the censorship authority to prohibit arts that offends the society’s morals.”

Mohamed Saeed, Founder of Anti-Harassment Initiative



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