The Spanish newspaper El Pais has a report on the status of women in Egypt, 2 years after the downfall of the tyrant Mubarak, and the democratic rise to power of Islamist Muslim Brotherhood which I am going to quote (risking the wrath of the ultra-sensitive anti-“Islamophobia” crowd, of course). The entire article is well worth reading.
The ascendency of Islamists (fairly and democratically, by all accounts), together with chaos and lawlessness on the streets, has lead to a very delicate and complex situation for women. Some of them admit that they were better off under Mubarak.
On January 25, the anniversary of the onset of protests against Mubarak, the famous Tahrir Square become the backdrop of assaults and rapes. At least 19 women were sexually assaulted, some of them victims of gang rapes. The police was MIA. The women were left to their own devices. Reda Saleh al Alhefwani, a Muslim Brotherhood legislator, was perfectly fine with this: “how can the Interior Ministry be expected to protect women if they mix up with men”?
According to Imam Bibars, regional director of the organization Ashoka Arab World, what is happening in Egypt after the rise of President Morsi is violence against women to remove them from the public life. It is an organized campaign spearheaded by the Islamic fundamentalists, both in the government and out, such as the Salafis. Its goal is to scare the women off the streets, such that they cannot form part of the democratic process. And if those who are in charge now stay in power, Egypt will end up like Afghanistan or Iran.
The activists recently saw that their fears were justified. That was when, last March, the Brotherhood harshly criticized a UN resolution condemning violence against women, saying that this declaration, if ratified, would lead to the disintegration of the society, and without a doubt, will be the final step in the intellectual and cultural domination over Muslim countries. According to the Brotherhood, the UN “was seeking to give equality to women guilty of adultery and children of adulterous affairs”, “offer protection and respect to prostitutes”, and, above all, “abrogate the need for a husband permission for women’s work, travel, and birth control use”.
How dare anyone try to make Muslim women not second class citizens!
According to Heba Morayef, directress of the office of Human Rights Watch in Egypt, what is surprising about this communique is not because of what is says, but that it comes from an organization that the majority party in the legislature is affiliated with, and the president of the country belongs to. It is in favor of Sharia, the Islamic law.
To those who cry “Islamophobia” at any criticism of Islamism, I have a question: can you look victims of gang rapes in the eye and tell them there is nothing wrong with political Islam?
Well an Egyptian TV preacher (their Pat Robertson?) had this to say about women protesting on the streets: “their are ogres without education, shame, fear and even femininity”. Incidentally, the same guy said recently that the flag of Islam would be flying over the White House.