An Egyptian production company will no longer use a theme song sung by Lebanese singer Fadl Shaker which could have marked his comeback to the music scene after he joined an extremist group، according to English-language daily newspaper published in Saudi Arabia، Arab News.
The leading Al-Adl Group selected the pop star to sing the theme song for an upcoming television series the company is producing that will be aired in less than a week.
However، the group removed the song from the television series after a massive backlash from fans in Egypt and Lebanon who opposed the use of Shaker’s voice due to his links to an extremist group in Lebanon.
It said it would not use Shaker’s voice for the series' opening credits after it became aware that “there are issues surrounding his legal status.”
Shaker started singing in 1996 and has a huge fan base across the Arab world.
After releasing 11 albums and 21 singles، he announced his retirement in 2012 and joined a militant group in Lebanon led by Salafist sheikh Ahmed Al-Assir، known for supporting groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
Shaker was sentenced in absentia last September by a Lebanese court to 15 years in prison for involvement in attacks in 2013 on the Lebanese army amid heightened sectarian tensions.
He was not arrested and has been living in a Palestinian camp in southern Lebanon.
In 2015 he appeared in a televised interview saying he wishes he could “go back to his normal life،” distancing himself from Al-Assir.
However، a debate on whether Shaker’s return to the art scene is acceptable or not ignited controversy related to the show.
A video on social media showing the mother of a Lebanese soldier modestly asking Al-Adl Group to remove the song out of respect for the people of Lebanon went viral on social media.
Fans in Egypt hurled negative comments at Egyptian actress Yousra and Al-Adl Group for letting Shaker sing the credits of the series “Ladayna Aqwal Okhra” in which Yousra features.
Al-Adl Group said its decision not to use the song stemmed from its "respect for the Lebanese people and army."