Nour is a Lebanese actress who has been starring in Egyptian films for the last 10 years. She is always considered as one of the prettiest actresses of her age. Lately, Egyptian newspaper “El Youm El Sabee” (The Seventh Day) reported [Ar] that Nour gave birth to a baby boy and called him “Leonardo”. The child's name helped reveal the religion of the actress, which shocked some of those who left comments on the article there.
An anonymous reader left the following comment under the screen name “Masdoom” (Shocked):
Another reader replied to Masdoom:
And a third reader called “Asmaa” said:
Readers left more than 100 comments on the article. Some where just shocked, and some others like the following reader tried to urge people to be more reasonable:
Traveller Within wrote the following tweet mocking people's reaction after knowing Nour's religion:
In fact, it seems that even Nour herself – whose real name is “Marianne Phillip Abi Habib” – was aware of this, and either she or her producers decided to give her a new screen name that doesn't reveal her religion.
It's not only Nour, but another Egyptian Actress – Basma – was subject to rumours a while ago that her grandparents are Jews. People then had mixed feelings towards such news.
In his blog “The Egyptian Silent Majority” blogger Ahmed Samir wrote about an incident that happened to him some time ago and made him realize how much people are obsessed with knowing other people's religion.
“هو المذيع………..مسلم و لا مسيحي”؟؟
(المذيع المقصود مذيع اذاعي بصوت مميز يقدم احد البرامج العاطفية على محطة من محطات ال FM)
جاويتها….(لا طبعااا…مسلم…..مســــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــلم طبعا…..دايما بيستشهد بالدين في برنامجه….لا و كمااااااااان ايه..دة دايما يهنىء المسيحيين بأعيادهم بقوله “اخواننا المسيحيين”)
لا…مسيحي ازاي…..؟؟ لا ممكن ابدااا
عموما نتأكد من الإنترنت….حتما و لابد عنده معلومة في هذا الشأن
و لســـــــــة بكتب إسم الرجل على جوجل لأفاجأ ان (جوجل) بيكمل لي السؤال
“……………مسلم أو مسيحي؟”
لأكتشف ان السؤال دة لا يشغلها هي وحدها انما شغل ناس كتيـــــــــــــر قبلها على الإنترنت!!!
(I am referring here to that presenter with a distinctive voice who presents a relationship advice show on one of the FM radio stations)
I answered her: No of course, he is a Muslim. He's Muslim for sure. He usually refers to Islamic values and laws on his show, and when he refers to Christians he calls them “Our Christian brothers/sisters”. He can't be a Christian, surely not. Anyway, let's see if the internet can confirm this information.
I went to write the guy's name in Google to find out that Google automatically completed my questions, and added “is he a Muslim or Christian?”
I realized then that it's not only my wife, but many others have gone to find an answer for the same question online before us.
He then continued:
علامات استفهام رهيبة و مثلها من علامات التعجب عن المغزى من هذه الأسئلة…و هل تنال ديانة المشهور من شعبيته و شهرته؟؟؟
و ما سبب هذه الطائفية الرهيبة التي تحملها هذه النوعية من الأسئلة..؟؟؟
و هل وصلت مجتمعاتنا الى درجة رهيبة من التطرف لدرجة ان تحكم على الشخص من خلال ديانته…لا من خلال اخلاقه او أعماله؟؟
و إذا كانت كل هذه الأسئلة تتم بدافع (الفضول) و ليس ال(التطرف) فهل وصل (الفضول) الى هذه الدرجـــــــة؟!!
فلقد ضبطت نفسي (متلبسا) بتهمة (التفاهة) و (السطحية) و الأمر اني قد اكتشفت اني لست بمفردي على هذه الشاكلة بل ان أمري يهون بجانب الكثيرين قبلي قد قرروا ان يفتشوا في ضمائر الناس و دياناتهم و ان يبنوا قناعاتهم و مدى حبهم لهذا النجم او ذاك بديانته و يقرروا مدى تعلقهم به و حبهم له بذهابه للجامع أم للكنيسة؟؟!!
Many questions and exclamation marks are wandering in my mind now. Does a person's religion effect his fame and popularity? What is the reason behind this sectarianism that carried us to ask such questions?
Has our society reached such a point of extreme sectarianism that we judge people by their religions instead of their morals and deeds? And if such questions are due to curiosity and not sectarianism, why are we that curious to know?
I caught myself charged with shallowness and silliness, but it's not only me, or else it would have been easier, many others before me decided to search into people's beliefs and base their love and hatred towards celebrities based on their religions, and decide to love or hate them based on whether they go to a mosque or a church on the weekend.
Charafantah wrote a list of more than 15 questions [ar] each one should ask himself in order to know whether he is racist or not. And one of those questions was whether your opinion in someone changes after you know his/her religion.
Finally, just as Ahmed Samir said in his post, it's not always racism or sectarianism, but sometimes it's just curiosity that makes us eager to know other people's religions, yet why are we that curious to know? Why do we even care to know? Will such information make any difference to us?