The Egyptian Musicians Syndicate has banned singer Sherine Abdel Wahab from performing in her native country.
According to a statement released this week, the Syndicate called for her immediate interrogation on the backdrop of a video showing the singer "mocking Egypt," after a fan asked her to sing "Mashrebtesh min Nelha" (Have you ever drank the water of the Nile).
In the video, Sherine is heard saying, "I would catch Bilharzia ... better drink Evian instead."
Schistosomiasis – also known as snail fever and bilharzia – is a disease caused by parasitic flatworms called schistosomes usually found in contaminated waters.
The disease is endemic in Egypt, exacerbated by the country's dam and irrigation projects along the Nile. The Egyptian Ministry of Health (MOH) has undertaken large campaigns to control its spread.
In a series of tweets expressing her love for her country, Sherine apologized
But people had mixed reactions:
"She may have become a star because of her talent, but she clearly has no control over what she says. She should only open her mouth to sing and eat."
Adeela, a Lebanese satirical page, defended the singer
"Although I prefer that Sherine only sing and not speak because she always gets in trouble when she does, I haven't found anything in this video worth the attacks. People should instead target those responsible for the water contamination instead of attacking an artist who spoke satirically on the matter."
"What's there to apologize for? It's true! The Nile's water causes diseases."
"Egyptians are well-known for their kindness and sense of humor; Sherine is one of them, she loves laughing and joking."
The Nile's contaminated waters have resulted in several deaths, among whom is renowned Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez who was diagnosed with Bilharzia at age 11. He died while undergoing treatment for the same disease aged 47.