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CAIRO (AP) — People who took to the streets in Egypt for an online dance challenge face penalties over allegations they endangered lives and violated public decency, the state media reported on Tuesday.
The dance craze flared up social media networks with video postings of people dancing in response to the so-called "Kiki challenge" to the song "In My Feelings" by Canadian singer Drake.
The challenge was initiated by Instagram comedian known as the TheShiggyShow. It involves people getting out of their cars and dancing to the song alongside the cars' open door.
Videos of Egyptian celebrities, including popular goalkeeper Essam al-Hadary, as well as actresses Dina al-Sherbini and Yasmin Raees, went viral on the hashtag "Kiki", now among the top trending hashtags in Egypt.
Some Egyptian dance enthusiasts went a step further, posting clips of themselves dancing to Egyptian songs. A user posted a photo of a man running alongside an overcrowded public bus, trying to catch it, with the caption reading: "We have another kiki challenge in Egypt."
But Egyptian officials were alarmed by the dancing spree.
The state-run MENA news agency cited a warning by an unnamed Interior Ministry official as saying the "Kiki challenge" dancers could be persecuted for violating the country's traffic law. The official didn't elaborate.
Local media say charges under the traffic law, including endangering lives and traffic disruption, can be punished by sentences of up to a year in prison and fines of up to 3,000 Egyptian pounds or $167.
Religious officials viewed the challenge as a threat to the country's "long entrenched values and ethics."
"The dance, which has spread like wildfire, violates social norms and ethics," Ahmed al-Malki, a researcher at Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim's foremost religious institution, told The Associated Press.
"The state has an inherent right to protect its citizens from whatever it views as harmful to them," the religious scholar added.