10 Things To Know About Egyptian Model Salma al-Shimi's Arrest Over An "Offensive" Photoshoot

In recent times, Egyptian courts have had reportedly jailed many social media influencers for sharing content that were deemed offensive by the court.

Ria Das
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Egyptian model arrested

Egyptian model and Instagram influencer Salma al-Shimi was arrested and later released on bail along with her photographer after her “inappropriate” photoshoot went viral, with tourism officials describing it as "offensive" to the country’s history. Shimi and her photographer Hossam Mohammad were released on Tuesday. They both, however, will be facing charges for taking photos without authorisation at an archaeological site.


Here are ten things you should know about Salma al-Shimi's arrest:

1. The Egyptian police arrested Shimi for a photoshoot at the 4,700-year-old Step Pyramid of Djoser, located on the outskirts of Cairo, and wore a revealing ancient costume. However, in an interview with a local media Youm7 TV prior to his arrest, Mohammad stated that she entered the site wearing an abaya (a robe) as requested by staff. He also claimed that she changed when they arrived at the shoot location.

2. >He further disclosed that they were accompanied by only six employees and the photoshoot lasted only 15 minutes.

3. Shimi has over 99 thousand followers on Instagram. She had posted photographs and also a video from the shoot. However her photoshoot was dubbed as “provocative and offensive” by Egyptian media, Al Ahram reports.


4. State-owned publication Akhbar el-Youm reported on Tuesday that Shimi had denied all of the accusations made against her, arguing that her aim had been to promote tourism rather than offend the Egyptian culture.

5. Later it was reported that Shimi, who had posed in an ancient Egyptian white-coloured dress, had removed the pictures from Instagram but the images are still visible to the followers.

6. The Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri said that disrespectful photos at the ancient sites are banned and “anyone who shows negligence when it comes to antiquities or our unique Egyptian civilization will be punished,” Waziri said in a statement posted on Facebook.

7. Claiming that she was unaware of the rules, Shimi reportedly appeared in court and said she never thought that photography on archaeological sites without a permit was forbidden.


8. Mohammad also expressed disappointment that the photoshoot has been receiving wide criticism online saying that “if a thin girl was in Salma’s place, the issue would be very normal”.

9.  Egyptian courts have reportedly jailed many social media influencers for sharing content that were deemed offensive by the court in recent time. In July this year, an Egyptian court sent five young women to prison for two years for posting “indecent videos” on TikTok. Back in January, one influencer had to spend five days in an Egyptian prison after illegally climbing a pyramid and posting a photo. And in 2018, a couple's bizarre sex photoshoot atop the Great Pyramid created a buzz and legal action was taken after pictures surfaced online.

10. Some linked Shimi's ordeal to the United Nations campaign "16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence", which began on 25 November.


Feature Image Credit: Salma al-Shimi/Facebook

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