Islamist students in an Egyptian university stopped the shooting of a TV series on campus in protest of the “indecent” outfit of the actresses.
Members of the crew of a TV series adapted from the novel “Zat” by prominent Egyptian writer Sonallah Ibrahim were prevented from shooting on the campus of Aim Shams University in eastern Cairo by a group of conservative students who argued that actresses were wearing tight clothes.
Following the students’ action, series director Kamla Abu Zikri headed to the dean of the Faculty of Engineering, where the series was being shot, to complain. The dean told her that she and they have to leave even though they had a six-month permit.
The director’s shock was shared by the series scriptwriter Mariam Naaoum who said that they were granted permission from the university administration to shoot on campus. The same administration, she said, decided to violate the agreement to avoid clashes between conservative students and members of the crew.
Naaoum added that the outfits worn by the actresses during the shoot in question represented the style that was fashionable in the 1970s in which the events of the series take place.
The series recounts the history of students’ unions political activism in the early 1970s and focuses on the sit-in staged by Faculty of Engineering students in 1972 and the demonstrations they led in Tahrir Square.
Crew members called upon the newly-established Egyptian Creativity Front, which aims at protecting the rights of artists and freedom on artistic expression, as well as all art-related syndicates to come up with solutions that would prevent this from happening again.
The reaction of the students, they said, was in flagrant violation of the right to freedom of expression.
Series producer, Gabi Khouri, criticized the stance of Aim Shams University which he accused of taking part in suppressing freedom of expression.
“By being passive towards the students’ action even though we were granted permission to shoot, the university is contributing to this clampdown on art and this kind of thuggery that has been prevalent since the revolution,” he said.
The crew is currently looking for another location to shoot the series.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)