Cairo: A Belgian model has angered Egyptians after she released nude photos showing her posing amid landmark ancient Egyptian monuments.
Marisa Papen this week uploaded the photos on her website, alleging they were taken next to the world-famed Giza Pyramids near Cairo and in the Karnak Temple in Luxor in Upper Egypt.
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities disputed the validity of the images.
“It is probable that the photos are fake or had been taken a long time ago and were recently published,” the ministry said in a statement.
“No such photo session has taken place in any archaeological area.”
MP Ahmad Idriss said he would raise the issue in parliament.
“This incident constitutes an unacceptable debasement of Egypt’s history and timeless antiquities that are a heritage for entire humanity,” the lawmaker said in a statement.
Several Egyptians, meanwhile, sharply rebuked Papen in online posts.
Public sexuality is socially disapproved and punished under the law in Egypt.
Papen is known for nude modelling photos in exotic sites around the world.
She said in an online report that the photos were taken by a friend during a journey to Egypt in April. The idea of the photos was inspired by her friend, identified as Jesse, whom she said is fascinated with ancient in Egypt.
Papen added that security guards arrested her and Jesse in the Karnak and that the photographer deleted the images to avoid further trouble with police. But they were referred to court.
“We kept playing the role of stupid tourists that had no idea dancing in skin-colored underwear on Egyptian ground wasn’t allowed,” the 25-year-old model recounted.
The judge ordered their release, warning them “never to do something so foolishly shameful ever again,” she said.
Later, Jesse was able to retrieve the images.
In 2015, a porn flick purportedly filmed next to the Pyramids embarrassed antiquities authorities that promised a probe. The findings of the inquiry have not been made public.
Egypt is seeking to revive its tourism, a major source of national income, after the industry was hard hit by the unrest that followed a 2011 uprising.
In October 2015, Egyptian tourism received a harsh blow after a Russian plane crashed in Sinai, killing all 224 people on board.
The downing, claimed by the Daesh terror group, prompted Russia to halt flights to Egypt. Russians accounted for 31 per cent of the 10 million tourists, who visited Egypt in 2014, according to official figures.
Revenues from tourism reached 3.4 billion dollars in 2016, down by 44 per cent against the previous year, according to the Central Bank of Egypt.
Tourism used to contribute 11.5 per cent of Egypt’s national gross product.
In recent months, Egypt’s tourism has shown signs of picking up.