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FJP-sponsored pop: Dolly Chahine and friends in Hurghada

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Tourism enhancement concert stirs controversy

Dolly Chahine during concert in Hurghada 22 January 2013Abdel-Rahman Sherief

Dolly Chahine during concert in Hurghada 22 January 2013
Abdel-Rahman Sherief

A recent picture has been making waves of controversy in the media; a picture of Lebanese singer Dolly Chahine at a Hurghada concert with the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) logo featured on the backdrop behind her.

The Freedom and Justice Party is the ruling party in Egypt’s government today and is closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. With centre right views on most things, the FJP is not known for being a patron of the arts and its parent organisation, the Brotherhood, has had several of its members convey conservative views about the arts and censorship in Egypt.

The Lebanese singer is known for being liberal in her choice of outfits at her concerts and first made her debut with a hit single on Arab and Egyptian satellite channels such as Mazzika and Melody in the 2000s.

The pop star was invited to perform with other artists and celebrities, such as Aboul Leef and Heidi Karam, in Hurghada to celebrate the Red Sea governorate’s official holiday. The concert was aimed at improving tourism after a significant drop in the past few years.

The controversy arose when the celebrations were found out to be sponsored, in part, by the FJP. Though it is entirely possible that the FJP is not directly responsible for who partakes in the celebrations, the performance was staged during a sensitive time just before the anniversary of the revolution. After the current events taking place in Suez, Port Said and Ismailia, the FJP-sponsored Dolly Chahine concert has become a bone of contention for many in the public sphere.

Consequently, there has been an abundance of sarcasm on the internet and television over the issue. Some have doubted the authenticity of the picture and have claimed Photoshop skills have been applied but a Daily News Egypt reporter was at the concert and confirmed the FJP’s logo was clearly visible as a sponsor.

The Muslim Brotherhood is known to have a financial hand in many businesses and projects that can hardly be passed as Islamic; they have capital in everything from real estate to patisseries to supermarkets and websites.

Another aspect of the controversy, and the subject of many jokes, is the Brotherhood’s promise to revive the economy and tourism through its elusive renaissance project. Many sarcastically tweeted that they were finally able to define what the project was all about, after months of ambiguity.

The FJP did not respond to requests for comment.


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