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A still from the video. Image Credit: Social media

Cairo: A top Egyptian court has upheld an earlier verdict dismissing a female academic from her university job on charges of belly-dancing in public and contesting religious tenets, local media reported.

The Supreme Administrative Court on Monday rejected an appeal lodged by Mona Prince, an English-language lecturer, against a ruling previously issued by a lower court upholding a decision from the state-run University of Suez expelling her from her job at the institution.

In 2018, the university in the coastal city of Suez expelled Prince from her post following an inquiry after she had posted videos on her Facebook page showing her dancing and encouraging her students to follow her example.

Prince, who worked as a lecturer of English literature at the Suez University, triggered a massive online controversy, after she appeared in the videos belly-dancing on the rooftop of her house.

Conservative commentators condemned her act as immoral while others advocated it as personal freedom.

In its final ruling, the Supreme Administrative Court said the university’s decision to sack Al Prince has “credible legal justifications”, Egyptian private newspaper Al Masry Al Youm reported.

The court added that the videos undermined the necessary standing for the university’s professor whose mission is to spread and promotes values.

“A university professor should not take dance as a slogan calling people to uphold it as this harms her image in her students’ eyes and affects her colleagues’ pride,” the paper quoted the court as saying.

It also convicted the academic of spreading “destructive ideas violating heavenly beliefs and public order”.

In response to the verdict, Prince re-posted on her Facebook a 2017 video showing her belly-dancing on the rooftop of her house, with a caption reading: “Dance is life regardless of the court’s decision”.

Belly-dancing has for decades been popular with Egyptians. However, in recent years, many in the mostly Muslim country, have frowned upon performances, with several clerics calling it un-Islamic.

This is not the first time Prince finds herself in trouble.

In 2013, she was referred to questioning by a disciplinary board at the same university for alleged defamation of Islam. She later got reproach in that case.