Nader Sadek sues over ‘devil worship’ defamation
Nader Sadek, the visual artist, metal musician and concert promoter known for his conflict with the Egyptian Musicians’ Syndicate, is suing the union’s head, Hany Shaker, for defamation and libel.
Sadek – who has brought international acts including Sepultura, Aborted, Alkaloid, Inquisition and Dark Fortress to play for Egyptian metalheads – spent time in a Cairo jail last year after Shaker accused him of being part of an “international devil-worshipping network” and promoting music that conflicts with Egyptian “society’s religious beliefs and social traditions”. (Read the full story here.)
He tells IQ he has high hopes of winning his case against Shaker, which will be heard by a Cairo judge on 21 May, “because they [the Syndicate] defamed me live on TV, even after we initiated the lawsuit,” he explains, referencing an appearance by a spokesman for the Musicians’ Syndicate on Al Kahera Wal Nas in April in which he again accused Sadek of devil worship, as well as telling Sadek’s lawyer, Mokhtar Badr, he was only “looking for fame”.
In a bizarre aside, the programme also included an appearance from a ‘high priest of devil worship’ – an actor in impressively realistic prosthetic make-up – designed to ridicule the Syndicate’s accusations of devil worship. “What the channel did with my episode is they brought in this half-man, half-creature thing with horns and interviewed him,” Sadek explains. “Everybody was freaking out – they told people with weak hearts to turn the TV off – and this thing comes in and introduces himself as priest of Satan.
“Later, the ‘priest’ took his mask off and a famous prosthetic artist come out and revealed it was fake: the point being that there is no devil worship and no priests of Satan.”
Sadek is seeking E£1 million in damages to cover the losses from Sepultura, Dark Fortress and Inquisition concerts disrupted by the Syndicate. “The only way he [Shaker] is going to get out of it is by bringing false or fabricated evidence,” continues Sadek. “We didn’t do anything unlawful, so the law is on our side. Additionally, Shaker and the Syndicate are not in any legal or religious position to make claims about myself or my religious practices.”
Sadek says he believes Shaker, who claimed to have infiltrated the Inquisition show and exposed a devil-worshipping ring, was driven purely by self-interest: “When he initially posted on his Facebook page about infiltrating the Inquisition show – which in reality he did not do – he mentions at the end, ‘I saved the youths of Egypt from devil worship’,” he explains. “It was an attempt to make himself look like a hero.”
“It’s not just about metal – it’s about art”
In the event Shaker – one of the Arab world’s most famous singers – does win, Sadek says he and Badr are planning to take the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. “We’re just going to keep going after them.
“Technically I was tortured, as one of the prison guards put out a cigarette on my foot… If I do lose, I’m not stopping. I seek justice, and most in my position would have left the country. But I don’t run – I’m here to stay.”
Sadek emphasises that the repercussions of the case go far beyond beyond metal music, setting a precedent for the protection of artistic freedom throughout Egypt. “It’s not just about metal,” he says. “It’s about art. If some people can’t deal with it, they have two choices: either change themselves from within, or just don’t look at it.
“There are things in our society that we can’t change that we have to accept – they need to do the same.”
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