Following the military’s ouster in 2013 of Egypt’s first elected president, Mohamed Morsi — an Islamist from the Muslim Brotherhood — Egypt has seen an uptick of activity from the country’s morality arbiters. Human rights researchers report that hundreds of gay and transgender people have been targeted and arrested, and that recently the net has been widened to include dancers, who are charged with inciting debauchery or prostitution. Egyptian singers have been arrested too, and the musicians’ syndicate has officially banned female singers from wearing revealing clothing. “It is a battle of who is the representative of real Islam,” explains Dalia Abd El-Hameed, a researcher for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. According to Abd El-Hameed, the military backed government is trying to convince the populace that they are the guardians of Islam and its moral code, as opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood or extremists such as ISIS. “What we discovered,” says El-Hameed, “is that this is a continuous attempt to create moral panic.”
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