Brandishing swords and dancing alongside masked men, an Egyptian couple took to the dance floor in an ISIS-themed wedding on Friday. Their decision to infuse their special day with elements borrowed from the Islamist militants’ brutal reign of terror seemed tasteless and callous, but the bride told ThinkProgress her husband had a very different intention in mind.
“It actually was a surprise for me,” Shymaa Mohammad Daif, the bride, told ThinkProgress in a Facebook message. “At first i didnt understand what happened but then I was satisfied about it.”
During the wedding, she and her husband danced in a cage similar to the one in which the Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasabeh was burned alive by ISIS militants last month. The two dance alongside several men in black ski masks to an upbeat song as the floor a colorful array of discotheque-like tiles light up beneath their feet.
Her husband didn’t tell her about his plans but Daif said he wanted the dance to serve as a political statement.
Although it’s been badly misconstrued in the media, she said the message was clear to her: “They came to the world by terrorism and murder, but our fun and smile will fight ISIS.”
Daif added, “A cage of murder will be broken by Egyptians and they will dance and never be scared.”
Last month, Egyptian jets bombed ISIS-held targets in neighboring Libya after the group released a video in which 21 Egyptian Christians were beheaded. Ahmed Mohammed Shehata, her husband, planned the dance after these events.
Daif had no idea that some media outlets decried the dance, and said it was never meant to be a joke.
Some guests, however, took it a bit too seriously. According to the Egyptian daily, Youm7, some of them believed the wedding had been stormed by ISIS militants.
“My father thought it’s real action from ISIS and hurried towards me,” Daif said. Many other guests were initially afraid, but soon realized that they were not under attack.
The politically-motivated revelries are shown a video posted on photographer Ahmed Kassem’s Facebook page, although Daif said the post didn’t show wedding guests broke the cage after their first dance inside of it.
“The idea came to the groom few days before the wedding,” the wedding photographer Ahmed Kassem told ThinkProgress over Facebook. “[The idea was to send the message that we don’t [feel] afraid from [ISIS] or anyone.”
He added that the groom thought an ISIS-themed wedding would be a way to make for a “special wedding” for “his girl.”
In a separate post, he wrote, “To everyone who says to me that you’ve become politicized, pay close attention: I did not want to say much because I do not want to get into the controversy of politics. My only relationship to this is filming it, that’s it.”
That post seems to have been spurred by a barrage of comments on his video post of the wedding. While some said they found humor in the scene, many others expressed outrage at making light of ISIS and dishonoring the murdered Jordanian pilot.
Given the horrors of the videos ISIS released of beheadings and killings, the props and costumes in the dance are disconcerting, but in the end, none of the attendees seemed to mind. It looks like any other fun-filled wedding: The bride beams. The groom smiles suavely. The guests look like they’re having a great time. And that’s what the groom hoped would happen.
Daif insisted that she and her new husband did not, by any means, plan the dance in support of ISIS.
“We are all against ISIS,” she said.