Al-Azhar imam suspended, apologizes for singing Umm Kulthum song

Ehab Younes
Updated 26 September 2017

Al-Azhar imam suspended, apologizes for singing Umm Kulthum song

CAIRO: An imam at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University has publicly apologized after being suspended from his job and subjected to massive criticism for singing on TV while wearing his religious uniform.
“I appreciate the feelings of those who had been disturbed by my singing,” wrote Sheikh Ehab Younes on his Facebook page.
The imam was on an Egyptian talk show last week when the presenter asked him to sing a song in tribute to the legendary Arab singer Umm Kulthum.
Younes sang a few lyrics from her song “Lesa Faker” (“Do You Still Remember?”) as an orchestra played in the background.
But the incident landed him in hot water because he was singing while wearing his Azhari uniform: A turban and long thobe.
It triggered a backlash on social media, prompting Egypt’s Ministry of Awqaf to refer the imam for investigation. “I want to reassure my loved ones, and those who care about me, that I’ve been interrogated today, and I am fine,” Younes wrote.
“I appreciate your standing by my side, and I respect the Awqaf minister’s decision to suspend me.”
The ministry said Younes had been suspended from his work as an imam and preacher at Ali bin Abi Talib Mosque, which falls under the ministry’s authority.
Al-Azhar also condemned his singing, saying: “People in the Islamic world associate the Azhari dress with uniforms of religious scholars and students, thus it should not be worn when singing or performing any type of art, even if it is purposeful and upscale.”
Shariah Professor Mohammed Shahat El-Gendy told Arab News: “Islam doesn’t prohibit music that doesn’t move sexual instincts. So the problem with what the Azhari imam did doesn’t lie in singing Umm Kulthum, who has been presenting upscale art throughout her lifetime. “It’s the fact that he was wearing his uniform, and the dress of a scholar should be respected. When wearing it, he is a role model for other Muslims.”
But some intellectuals in Egypt said there is nothing wrong with an imam singing while wearing his scholarly dress.
On his Facebook page, writer Sameh El-Zahar listed the names of famous Egyptian imams known for their love of music.
“Sheikh El-Naqshbandi strongly liked Umm Kulthum and sang for her,” Al-Zahar wrote.
“Sheikh Mohammed Refaat was the most famous man of his time in his knowledge of classical music, and Sheikh Abdul Basset Abdul Samad was a distinguished oud player.”

Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

Updated 18 July 2019

Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

  • Some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security, Abdollahian says

BEIRUT: “Lebanon must be kept out of all regional crises,” said Iran’s Shoura Council assistant speaker for international affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, during a surprise visit to Beirut on Wednesday.

“We say at the top of our voice that Iran and its allies will not allow the Zionist entity and the US to damage the region’s security.”

Following his meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Abdollahian said that Tehran “is convinced that the security of Lebanon is the security of the region and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Abdollahian added that “some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security.”

He described his talks with Berri as “good and constructive.”

“We will not allow Israel, US to interfere with regional security.”

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s Shoura Council official

Abdollahian said: “We have come today to reaffirm that Iran fully supports the people, army, resistance and government of Lebanon, and we look forward to developing relations between our two countries until they reach the highest levels.”

He said he believes that the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are for “domestic consumption,” accusing him of “making some moves in the region that are not in his favor.”

Netanyahu responded to a message from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday by threatening Hezbollah during Israel’s Cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu said: “Let me be clear that if Hezbollah dares to commit an act of stupidity and attack Israel, we will deal a crushing military blow on Lebanon. But unlike Nasrallah, I do not intend to detail our plans. It would be enough to recall that, for years, Nasrallah dug terror tunnels, and we demolished them within a few days.”