Authorities in Egypt recently issued an arrest warrant against a man who was seen belly dancing in a video that went viral last week.
The man's performance took place in front of tens who were commuting on a ferry that carries people between the country's Rass El Barr and Domiat governorate. Footage of the incident caused quite the stir in Egypt after it was uploaded on Facebook, leading many to report it to local police.
In the now-viral clip, the man can be seen wearing a wig and belly-dancing to an Egyptian song. The performer alongside the man and woman who own the sea vehicle are now being accused of "inciting debauchery."
Local media outlets reported that the boat's owners have since been arrested and interrogated by police.
While the performer hasn't been detained yet, police have launched a search for him. If caught, he will face legal consequences and jail time.
Though debauchery cases aren't new to performers in Egypt, the man's case is quite risky given that he may also be charged with cross-dressing.
Laws regarding cross-dressing are vague in the country, but people can be punished for "wearing or acquisition of clothes of the opposite sex." While there is no law that clearly deems cross-dressing as illegal, cross-dressers are often tried under legislation related to "inciting debauchery," or "publishing/advertising of habitual debauchery."
News of the case continues to make the rounds online. People have polarizing opinions on the matter.
Some were "relieved" that police took action
"We thank our officials in Domiat and Ras El Barr for taking action."
Others thought the entire thing was blown out of proportion
"For your information, all ferry rides in Ras El Barr are like this. Things like this have been happening for years, can't you just focus on something else?"
And came to the man's defense
"OK, wasn't the person who filmed this also on the ride watching the performance? This is a show, if you enjoy what it has to offer, watch it. If you're upset by it just get on a different boat. This might be the way through which these people make a living."
Not the first "debauchery case" related to belly dancing
In 2018, Egypt-based Russian belly dancer, Ekaterina Andreeva - who's publicly known as Johara (Jewel) - sparked controversy after a video of her dancing went viral.
Earlier this year, she was sentenced to one year in jail for "inciting debauchery." The sentencing was passed by the Giza Misdemeanors Court and came almost a year after the dancer was arrested by police and interrogated "on charges of inciting debauchery and dancing semi-naked, as well as working as a dancer without obtaining a permit from the Manpower Ministry."
At the time, she was also was labeled as a threat "to public security due to her provocative dancing."