Egyptian rock fans branded ‘Satanist’
Egyptian rock fans have been branded ‘Satanist’ by a lawyer acting for a Muslim political party, in a move reminiscent of the nation’s 1996 witch hunt.
Ismail El-Weshahy claims people who attended a series of rock and metal concerts last week in the Culture Wheel, Cairo, were wearing t-shirts featuring Satanic symbols and indulging in devil-worshiping rituals.
He also says his clients, members of an organisation called We’re Watching You, have filmed footage of this rituals taking place.
Venue bosses deny the allegations, telling Ahram.org: “In our ten years of activity the Culture Wheel has not hosted any kind of practice that could be called Satanic.” They add that they doubt whether genuine devil-worshippers exist in Egypt, saying: “Its people have a high degree of faith in God and appreciation of faiths.”
They say their events are carefully managed to ensure that no anti-social behaviour, including smoking, takes place.
The Culture Wheel is owned by Mohamed El-Sawy, founder of a moderate-Islamist party and former culture minister in a previous government.
Rock musician Wael Osama has defended followers of the genre, saying: “El-Weshahy made grave legal accusations against the metal bands. We should be concerned about the reactions of the public. After all, we recently saw what happened to the young man who was walking with his fiance in Suez, and was killed by radical Islamists.
“I feel sympathy for this lawyer since he may not be familiar with the metal subculture, and may find it strange to see young people head banging and wearing black. I try to use the media available to me to explain the subculture to the people of Egypt.”
In 1996 a number of rock fans were arrested by Egyptian security forces and charged with promoting Satanism across the nation. After months of controversy the suspects were released and officials admitted they had no evidence to support their allegations.