Lebanese singer and actress Najah Salam dies aged 92

She was best known for her songs promoting pan-Arabism

Najah Salam became popular singer in the 1950s, especially in Egypt during the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis. Photo: Najah Salam / Facebook
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Lebanese singer and actress Najah Salam, who surged to fame in the mid-20th century in the Middle East for her songs promoting pan-Arabism, has died, her family said on Thursday. She was 92.

Her family did not disclose the cause of her death.

Salam was born on March 13, 1931, and became popular as a singer in the 1950s, especially in Egypt during the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis when then-president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the canal and broke Egypt from its colonial past.

The move angered Britain, France and Israel, which invaded the country, sparking the second Arab-Israeli war. Nasser later granted Salam an honorary Egyptian citizenship.

Salam was also a well-known actress and was involved in about a dozen Arabic-language films in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 2018, then-Lebanese president Michel Aoun honoured Salam and other iconic artists in a celebration marking the 80th anniversary of Radio Lebanon, one of the region’s oldest radio stations.

“The journey has ended,” her daughter Samar Alattafi posted on Facebook. “Mom is under the mercy of God.”

Though she remained under the radar in her later years, Salam's songs are still remembered and listened to across the Arab world.

Salam's former husband, Mohammed Salman, was a famous Lebanese comedian also known around the Arab world. He died in 1997.

Salam is survived by two daughters and a sister.

Updated: September 28, 2023, 2:06 PM