Education officials suspended over dance party at school

Long popular in Egypt, belly-dancing has in recent years been frowned upon as un-Islamic

15:43 March 2, 2018

Cairo: Egyptian education authorities have suspended two local officials over a party held at a school featuring belly-dancers, a type of entertainment violating school regulations in the conservative country.

The head of the school in Giza south of Cairo, where the party had been allegedly held, was suspended pending an investigation into the incident, a spokesman for the Education Ministry said on Friday.

The undersecretary of the ministry in the area has also been suspended for having attended the show.

The incident drew attention after an online video went viral purportedly showing three belly-dancers performing in the party at a well-known school in the Giza’s Pyramids district.

The function was reportedly held to honour top students of the school.

The show sparked a media outcry and drew condemnations from education officials.

“Hiring belly-dancers to perform inside a school is a matter that violates traditions and educational rules,” Azza Shaaban, an official at the Education Ministry said.

She added in a statement that the findings of an ongoing inquiry will be forwarded to Education Minister Tareq Shawqi to take the “necessary measures”.

The Giza education department said it had referred to investigations everyone involved in arranging the party and warned violators will be toughly penalised.

In response to the furore, the school management apologised in an online statement for what it called an “error” in the party and said it was investigating it.

Belly-dancing has for long been popular with Egyptians. However, in recent years, many in the country have frowned upon performances, with several clerics calling it un-Islamic and immoral.