Statue of Egypt’s famed classical singer gets burqa, flag makeover

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A number of activists in Egypt’s Delta province of al-Mansoura placed the Egyptian flag on the statue of the country’s late famed classical singer Umm Kolthoum on Friday, in a response to an earlier incident, when anonymous individuals covered the singer’s statue with a burqa.

The statue’s face was seen covered last week with the black veil, in what is known in the muslim world as “burqa.”

Activists cleaned the statue, located in Umm Kolthoum’s birthplace, and painted its base, then wrapped the statue with the Egyptian flag to mark the singer’s patriotism.

Umm Kolthoum, who is known as the Star of the Orient, sang several songs for Egypt during her lifetime and had donated money during her to support the Egyptian army during former president Gamal Abdel Nasser’s reign.

In the Arab world, Umm Kolthoum is seen as an icon of the Egyptian culture and for the nation’s struggle against Israel, following the 1967 Middle East war.

Her songs are commonly heard across Egypt, even after 30 years since her death.

Last week, the culture ministry and the Egyptian Writers Union condemned covering Umm Kolthoum’s face with a black veil, reported Egypt Independent.

Both organizations had also condemned vandalizing the statue of the Arab World’s literary icon Taha Hussein, whose statue was beheaded earlier in the Upper Egyptian town of Minya.

“We have to preserve Egypt’s history and memories because if we lose any of them we will find ourselves missing the country’s great cultural and artistic values,” the ministry’s statement said, according to the Egypt-based Ahram weekly.

The acts were allegedly thought to be done by extremist Islamists in Egypt but there is no evidence on that.