Tamer Hosny was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt.
Considering I don’t speak Arabic, and Hosny doesn’t appear to speak a whole lot of English, I’ll do my best on Hosny’s worldview.
Hosny is a devout Muslim. His music is laced with religious themes–and his album ElGana Fi Byotna is a collection of Muslim- and Ramadan-themed songs. I found many songs with “Allah” in the name, including one which translates into “God Bless You” with these lyrics:
God protects you my love, my life, my precious/ and makes you live longer for me
I also found a recording of him reciting or singing the adhan, or the Islamic call to prayer.
Much of his religiously-themed music preaches tolerance and peace. In an English version of his song, “Habibi Ya Rasoul Allah,” he sings:
Messenger of love, messenger of peace, oh God’s beloved. . . . You’re the One who told us that this land needs peace.
And many praised his song, “Diny We Dinak,” which condemned the bombing of a Christian church in Alexandria, Egypt in 2011, as a model of tolerance and understanding.
Hosny would probably have rather stayed out of politics. He’s got his popular singing career, and it seems that would have been enough for him. But then this whole revolution thing happened. As a central component of the Arab Spring, protesters in 2011 successfully forced an end to the 30-year presidency of Hosni Mubarak.
When the revolution began, the Mubarak government requested of Hosny that he speak to protesters and try to convince them to go home. When the singer complied, he was not well-received. (Some speculate that Hosny did the regime’s bidding because he wanted to get on its good side after a draft-dodging scandal.)
He tried to make up for it by going down to Tahrir Square to apologize and claim he was misled by the government, but protesters attacked him causing the military to intervene to protect the pop star. The video of him immediately afterward sobbing and saying he wanted to die didn’t do much for his reputation, and prompted one demonstrator to tweet,
One of the great victories of the revolution is that it destroyed Tamer Hosny.
He’s done his best to convince Egyptians that he’s on their side, even saying he’ll release an album of songs for the revolution. But it looks like he learned his lesson. He refused to endorse a candidate in the 2012 presidential elections, the country’s first democratic election, claiming he made a decision to stay non-political:
I had made a decision a while back to not discuss politics or reveal which presidential candidate I support. I did not reveal my choice in the first round of elections and do not intend on doing so in the second round.
Lesson learned. And his fans are probably thankful for it.