Sectarianism on and off screen

Two Egyptian movie legends, Omar Sharif and Adel Imam, are starring in a new movie that addresses sectarian tensions. In "Hassan and Morcos," Adel Imam plays a Christian and Omar Sherif a Muslim who struggle against the extremists within each of their religious communities. As incidents of sectarian violence occur at a seemingly weekly rate, this is a promising and relevant topic--although I fear the film tows the government's tired "national unity" line, ignoring real grievances and power imbalances. The trailer does show some pretty dramatic and realistic depictions of sectarian riots. 

Of course, the film has been deemed "controversial." Imam, a Muslim, has been criticized for playing a Christian onscreen. The Al Ahram Hebdo reports that a few geniuses have started a Facebook group entitled "Call to Muslims: Boycott the Christian Adel Imam." 


Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.