Singer Sherine Abdel Wahabin is being accused of "insulting the Egyptian state" after she told audience members at a concert in the United Arab Emirates that drinking from the Nile could lead to illness.

Nov 15, 2017

Jokes about the Nile are as old as the river itself, but one Egyptian pop singer has been told she will stand trial after joking about disease in the famous waterway.

Sherine Abdel Wahab was on stage in the United Arab Emirates when a fan requested that she sing her track Have You Drunk From the Nile? – a patriotic hit connecting love of the notorious river with love of the Egyptian nation. The singer replied: “No, you’d get Schistosomiasis! Drink Evian, it’s better.”

Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia, is a parasitic disease endemic to Egypt caused by water contaminated with infected freshwater snails, and has even been found in mummies dating back 5,000 years. The Egyptian government began a $10m campaign to eradicate the disease in 2016.

The lighthearted comment sparked a backlash after a video of the performance went viral, leading angry fans to create the hashtag #IWillDrinkFromtheNileandWon’tListentoSherine.