Egyptian pop diva Sherine Abdel Wahab has been referred to trial for suggesting at a concert that drinking from the Nile River could lead to illness, judicial officials said Wednesday.

The singer’s trial date has been set for December 23, they said, on charges of “harming the public interest”.

The announcement came after the Musicians Syndicate in Egypt said it would bar her from performing in the country after she made the remark at a concert in the United Arab Emirates.

Social media users had shared a video of a fan asking her to sing her tune “Have you drunk from the Nile”.

“You’d get bilharzia,” she said, referring to a water-borne parasite Egypt struggled for decades to combat. “Drink Evian, it’s better,” she joked, referring to a brand of bottled water.

Her comments, the Musicians Syndicate said in a statement, constituted “unjustified ridicule toward our dear Egypt”.

I wouldn’t even drink the tap water in Egypt. But I’m not Nilephobic either – I wouldn’t drink water from the Brisbane River either.

Meanwhile, Miss Iraq Sarah Idan has had to defend herself for posting a selfie with Miss Israel Adar Gandeslman. “I want to stress that the purpose of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries,” Idan said in a statement, “[It] does not signal support for the government of Israel and does not mean I agree or accept its policies in the Arab homeland.”

That’s why I love the Middle East: you can’t touch a Jew but you should drink water from the Nile.