Egyptian woman arrested for baking cupcakes featuring genitalia icing

A cupcake.
A cupcake. Photo credit: Getty

A woman was fined and briefly detained in Egypt after being accused of baking "indecent" cupcakes topped with fondant genitalia, according to local media.

The cupcakes, baked for a birthday party at the exclusive Gezira Sporting Club in Cairo, featured icing in the shape of penises, underwear and bottoms.

Photographs of the cakes subsequently went viral, leading to the baker's arrest. She was later released on NZ$448 bail, according to BBC - with reports that the partygoers may also face legal ramifications.

BBC Middle East analyst and reporter Sebastian Usher tweeted that the slightly "risque" cupcakes had been branded a "moral breach", stirring anger on social media.

In a strongly-worded Facebook post, Cairo-based religious organisation Dar Al-ifta - an Egyptian Islamic advisory and governmental body - condemned products featuring sexual representations as a violation of Islam, "an assault on the value system" and "a crude abuse of society".

"Posting naked pictures, candy, holograms, and products with sexual expressions… is legitimately forbidden and legally criminal," the Dar Al-ifta said, according to a translation.

Prominent human rights lawyer, Negad El-Borai, said the outrage at the baking proved that personal freedom in Egypt is still highly restricted.

"What happened with these women, and before [that] with the girls of TikTok… emphasizes that a group in society, with the support of the state, wants to eliminate any space for personal freedoms in Egypt under the pretext of preserving the 'values of the Egyptian family'," El-Borai tweeted, according to a translation.

The reference to TikTok is in relation to several young Egyptian women accused of morality-related offences due to content uploaded on the video-sharing platform.  

Two local social media influencers, 20-year-old Haneen Hossam and 22-year-old Mawada al-Adham, were convicted in July of undermining "family values and principles" and publishing "indecent" photos and videos, BBC reports. 

Last Tuesday, an appeals court overturned their two-year prison sentences - however, days later, a public prosecutor ordered the women's continued detainment, alleging the women had exploited young girls by encouraging them to share similar content. The women reportedly plan to appeal.