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Latin star Shakira proud of Arab background

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LISBON, Nov 3 (AFP) - Colombian pop star Shakira, whose father is of Lebanese descent, said Thursday she is proud of her Arab heritage and is saddened when people make generalizations about the Middle East.

"I am very proud of my heritage. I think I have always shown that through my dancing because my acts are inspired on Arab culture. Many of my movements belong to Arab culture," she told Portuguese television station SIC.

The slender 28-year-old singer became an instant international pop sensation after she released her first English material in 2001, thanks in part to a sexy image built on her hip-shaking belly-dance moves.

"There are many preconceptions out there. I think it is important to make it clear to the entire world that only a very small number of people in the Middle East are violent," she said.

"It is very painful to see how there is a tendency to generalize. I think the world can't be that way," she added.

Shakira, who will later this month launch her first English language album since the 13 million selling "Laundry Service", was in Lisbon to take part in the 12th annual MTV Europe Music Awards later on Thursday.

The singer will perform at the event, held in a different city each year, and is nominated for best pop artist and best female artist.



COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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