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Egypt: Three men detained for "singing and dancing in a mosque"

Egypt: Three men detained for "singing and dancing in a mosque"
FILE - The Aslam al-Silahdar Mosque, built in 1344-1345 by Aslam al-Bahai, an Amir...   -  
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Egypt’s public prosecutor's office has detained three men after a video surfaced of one of them singing and dancing in a mosque in el-Marg, a popular suburb northeast of Cairo.

The video, widely shared on social media, shows a man dancing, jumping and singing with a microphone in a mosque to the music of singer Ahmed Moza, one of the figures of the "mahraganate".

The "mahraganate" -- "festivals" in Arabic -- also known as "electro-chaâbi" have become the most listened-to musical style in Egypt.

Coming from Cairo's working-class neighbourhoods, their musicians use free or cheap software to remix traditional music with electronic sounds while taking their inspiration from the rhythm of rappers.

Finger-pointed by the authorities, they are regularly banned from performing because their songs are considered too vulgar.

Identified as "the protagonist, the author and the person who distributed the video on social networks", the statement issued late Tuesday by the prosecutor's office does not specify the charges against the three men "placed in custody for the purposes of the investigation".

Mona Seif, sister of Egypt's most notorious political prisoner, Alaa Abdel Fattah, said on Facebook that the three men had been "interrogated by State Security".

Since coming to power in 2013, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi has been accused by human rights defenders of gradually muzzling the population, notably by resorting to trials for "terrorism" and "false information".

The independent music and film industries also regularly complain that they are under pressure or can no longer find backers in a country where the state or the various branches of the security apparatus hold more and more production companies.

In early May, three comedians were released after more than a month in detention on charges of "false information" and "terrorism" after posting a song on TikTok denouncing inflation that was widely shared online.

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