A few days ago, heavy metal fans in Egypt were shocked when they were accused of being devil worshippers and part of the occult for attending a concert in which singers were dressed in black, and wore black and white makeup and face paint.
Egyptian singer and Head of Musicians Syndicate Hany Shaker made the accusations live on TV that the Syndicate was informed of an illegal concert being held downtown Cairo. “The devil worshippers were dressed in a very weird style and drew their makeup in the shape of a pentagram,” he said. “They wore leather jackets with stars on the back and that is strange.”
Shaker continued his accusations and said the role of the syndicate is to protect youth from all conspiracies surrounding them and that this concert might be one of them. The story started when Nader Sadek, an American-Egyptian metal singer, decided to hold a concert with metal band “Inquisition” in a small platform in downtown Cairo.
“I had asked about all the legal permissions already; the authorities knew I was having a metal concert and they didn’t show any concern,” Sadek said. “Heavy Metal is a type of music and my band holds concerts across the globe without facing any problems.”
Approximately 200 fans attended the concert, which went smoothly without any interruptions from the police, unlike what Shaker predicted in his talk. Inquisition band members even went for a walk across the street afterwards and were met with only love and laughter from the public, Sadek said.
However later on, the syndicate said their concern was only because the band did not have any permits. “We [Musicians Syndicate] were not informed that Nader Sadek was holding any concert at the time,” syndicate member Abdel Rahman El-Sayad said. “I personally have to sign the permits of every concert that is going to take place and I assure you that I have not signed any permit for that concert.”
In his talk, Shaker said the syndicate had stopped all similar concerts that were supposed to be held later in February. “Everything Hany Shaker said is a lie,” Sadek said. “There were no concerts supposed to be held after the one we did and I do not know how he can accuse me of organising a devil worshippers’ event when he knows nothing about it.”
Before the concert took place, Sadek faced many logistic problems when it came to the place and date due to the controversy of such a genre. Sadek believes it is all set up by a group of opponents of Egyptian metal bands with the help of Hany Shaker.
Shaker’s statements caused wide range of criticism in the street and by other public figures.
Famous businessman Naguib Sawiris was one of the first who accused Shaker of ignorance in a tweet: “Could someone please explain to Hany Shaker that black metal has nothing to do with devil worshippers. Give the youth a break!”
In a reply which disregarded everything he had said earlier, Shaker said the only problem was that the band did not have any permission and it has nothing to with the genre. “Can someone explain to Sawiris that the decision preventing further concerts was due to not having permission to hold the concert and it has nothing to do with the music genre?” he responded.
“I call Shaker’s action a form of promoting terrorism,” Sadek said. “He’s supposed to be a grown up and a celebrity that allegedly should be responsible for what he’s saying. Following his previous statements, people might assault random people walking in the streets just because they are dressed in black leather.”
Sadek also claimed that Shaker’s accusations were to purposefully and personally stop Sadek from holding any concerts in Egypt at the future. “I’ve had many concerts before at Al-Sawy Culture Wheel, which takes regular permissions from authorities and not once was I stopped from performing my heavy metal songs,” he said.
After facing a widespread criticism, Shaker revoked his statements and said his judgement was only from a personal point of view, not a professional one. Shaker had submitted his resignation from his position as head of the Musicians Syndicate but it was denied by the board of directors, who insisted on having him their representative.