Although dancing is sin for the rising ultra-conservative Salafi Muslims, schools carry on liberating women through hip-whirling in Egypt.
As Salafists had to keep a low profile during the Mubarak’s regime, they are becoming more visible after the revolution in Alexandria, the centre of the movement. Despite all that, dance schools continue teaching Western dances wishing that the Salafi ideas, like banning dancing, will not prevail Egypt in the future.
The video only gives few quotes from the Salafists. They refused to be filmed or photographed, but the full interview can be read here.
“We have to ban the dance schools!”
With a four-month-old baby in her one hand and Pampers in other, Nagat speaks with a low voice in front of the main Salafi Mosque, Al Fateh.:
Yes, of course. The main thing in our religion is to commit to the religion, to stick to the religion. When the liberal Western culture increases, with all its means, there is a decreasing trend of religiosity. Religious person can learn about Western culture and this doesn’t prevent him of being religious or sticking to the rituals. We take what is consistent with religion and leave out what is not.
How could you prevent the Western culture coming in?
There is something called imitating in applying way. That you just see the question and you imitate them and you take them as a model. I’m a teacher in private school. Kids are following the Western style, like Saint Franciscan, it’s a Christian school. The uniform, the rewards, the way they eat with a left hand, practicing prayers. But the main reason is the family. It’s a contradiction to Al Azhar. The Western culture is only common in private and American style of schools, but not in public schools.
Should you do something to prevent the Western culture coming in?
Yes, we have to ban these schools, dance, singing, taborog (i.e. women who are exposing their bodies), and mixing men and women. We have to ban all this. This is becoming common among people who are in private schools and in American schools. I don’t want dance schools or anything that is Western.
The Imam of Al Fateh Mosque: “The traditions and religion must be untouched.”
Muhammed, The Imam and the speaker of the central Salafi Mosque:
What the religion says is right and what the religion says is wrong and you don’t accept it. Not all Europe is bad. They also have good things that I accept. We don’t have a hostile attitude towards Western culture. But if it is violating or inconsistent with the religion, we refuse it of course. Why is the West afraid of Islam? Why do you base your judgement and build your initiatives on something you don’t know?
Should there be anything done to prevent westernization?
There should be a law for the whole country, to regulate the whole country. The traditions and religion must be untouched, must be working under the rule of religion. Anything violating the traditions and the religion should be left out. Egyptians know when something is wrong.
From trial authors ;
Marian Männi, Estonia
Shaherah Khatatbeh, Jordan
Nada Marei, Egypt
Produced during Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists in Alexandria