Kampong Glam restaurant apologises to Muslim community for belly dance by 'almost naked' dancer

Belly dancing is believed to originate in Egypt.

A Turkish restaurant in Singapore has apologised to the Muslim community for a belly dance performance in Kampong Glam.

The apology was in response to a Dec 24 post by Facebook user Abu Jalal Sarimon, who said the restaurant in Bussorah Street next to Sultan Mosque organised belly dancing by an "almost naked" dancer in her "revealing attire".

"Where (is) the respect to the Muslim community and the Holy Mosque?" he asked in the post, which included two photos of the belly dancer.

Replying to a comment to his post, he said that the restaurant owner is a non-Muslim Singaporean and added: "So sad our own Singaporean has no respect and intolerable towards our religion."

The next day, Derwish Turkish Restaurant made a few clarifications on its Facebook page before apologising.

The restaurant said: "The dance was organised by a regular patron as a gesture of appreciation for a party hosted for them at our restaurant a week ago. It was not our intention to disrespect the mosque or the Muslim community.

"Our patron who had performed had, in fact, worn a fitted skin-coloured vest that was draped on the outside in a belly-dancer costume. It would be unthinkable for us to allow a scantily-dressed dancer in front of the shops knowing our proximity to the mosque.

"Derwish Turkish Restaurant has always had a Muslim owner. The Singaporean non-Muslim colleague mentioned by Mr Abu Jalal is our restaurant manager of 11 years and not the owner of the business. He, at no point, claimed to be the owner of the restaurant and there was a clear misunderstanding regarding this point.

"As a Muslim-owned business that has been operating a restaurant in the vicinity for many years, we unreservedly extend our sincere apologies to all Muslim patrons and the Muslim community at large should any offence be taken.

"We wish to further make assurances that this will not occur again and we will do better in gauging the sensitivities to the community in the future."

Salam & Hello TO OUR PATRONS We write in response to a Facebook post dated 24 December 2022 by Mr Abu Jalal Sarimon...

Posted by Derwish Turkish Restaurant on Sunday, December 25, 2022


While some netizens felt that there was nothing wrong with the performance, Facebook user Mohd Khair explained why belly dancing in the area is offensive to Muslims by comparing it to alcohol.