Amr Fahmy
Last updated: 3 September, 2012

The actress and the preacher – a new Egyptian drama

Egyptian actress Elham Shahin is back on the front pages after falling from the limelight for years. The ex-glamour star, now 50, has been in open war with religious TV preacher Abdullah Badr following her open criticism of Islamists and their views on some of her movies.

Shahin, a well-known supporter of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, believes the January 25 revolution didn’t achieve freedom in Egypt because it brought the Islamists to power.

The actress said she served Egypt by winning several awards at international film festivals while Islamists offered the country nothing but freedom restrictions.

Badr instantly used his regular appearances in Islamic TV channel Al Hafez to respond to Shahin, accusing her of “teaching girls adultery and nudity” through her movies. The preacher went even further threatening Shahin she would find herself in hell after she dies unless she publicly repents.

The confrontation between Shahin and Badr developed into a public debate as many secularists, including Sameh El Serity, the head of the actors syndicate, said they would stand firm by the actress and even provide her with legal backing. Shahin said Badr is in need to learn about Islam and accused him of fame hunting.

“Nobody knew who Abdullah Badr was before he offended me,” she said.

Meanwhile, a large number of video compilations with different sex scenes from Shahin’s movies in 1980s and 1990s was uploaded on YouTube to prove Badr right.

The religious preacher appeared in another live TV show on August 31 to defend his views and surprised everybody as he showed a photo of Sahin in one of her hot scenes and said “this is called adultery”.

The debate continues and many Egyptians find it more entertaining than the football league which is scheduled to kick off later in September.