A female pastry chef has been arrested in Egypt for the crime of selling cupcakes decorated with penises, vaginas, and butts. The Ministry of Youth and Sports launched an investigation after photos of women eating the cupcakes at a birthday party at a Cairo sports club went viral. The chef, who's since posted bail of $318, was detained at her Cairo home, which she used "to manufacture the sweets," state newspaper Al-Ahram reported Monday, per CNN. The government's Islamic legal institution says the cupcakes are a "blatant abuse to societal values" and forbidden by Islam. "We will not be lenient," adds a rep for the investigating ministry. But the chef claims she only fulfilled an order. Club members "came to my shop and handed me pictures of genitals, and asked me for cakes in these forms," she reportedly told investigators, per the Guardian.
Human rights lawyer Negad El Borai says the incident confirms "there is a segment of society, with support of the state, that wants to eliminate any space for personal freedom in Egypt under the pretext of safeguarding Egyptian family values," per the BBC. He references two women charged with "violating family values and principles" over TikTok videos showing them singing and dancing. Haneen Hossam, 20, and Mawada Eladhm, 22, were each sentenced to two years in prison. Those sentences were overturned last week, but the women remain jailed amid a human trafficking investigation. The public prosecutor claims the girls were exploited by people who urged them to post on TikTok. (An Egyptian actress was charged with a similar crime after exposing her legs.)