According to Ahram Online, a lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) filed a complaint Saturday to Egypt’s interior ministry against El-Sawy Culture Wheel, the prominent cultural centre in Cairo’s upscale Zamalek district, accusing it of hosting “Satanist” rock bands and events. The suit says an August 31 concert at the center was attended by people wearing t-shirts adorned with what the lawyer, Ismail El-Weshahy, described as satanic shapes and symbols. El-Weshahy said that one of his two clients, both of whom are members of an independent anti-corruption NGO called ‘We’re Watching You,” had also filmed a group of people who he said were performing satanic rituals in the center.
In response, the Culture Wheel issued a statement in which it denied claims by El-Weshahy and his clients.
“In our ten years of activity, the Culture Wheel has not hosted any kind of practice that could be called Satanic,” the statement said.
Egyptian heavy metal musician Wael Osama defended the groups from El-Weshahy‘s allegations.
“El-Weshahy made grave legal accusations against the metal bands. We should be concerned about the reactions of the public. After all, we recently saw what happened to the young man who was walking with his fiancé in Suez and was killed by radical Islamists,” Osama told Ahram Online.
“I tried to use the media available to me to explain the metal subculture to the people of Egypt,” he added. “I feel sympathy for this lawyer, since he may not be familiar with the metal subculture, and therefore may find it strange to see young people headbanging and wearing black.”
In 1997, Egyptian police arrested some 100 heavy metal fans, including several who were jailed for weeks, over accusations they belonged to a Satanic cult aimed at spreading drugs and sexual freedom.