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May 30 2012

Something that is actually like the Taliban

Mariz Tadros gives a vastly depressing account of life for women in Egypt.

…on the streets of Egypt, inch by inch, bit by bit, women’s rights are shrinking. Women, Muslim and Christian, who do not cover their hair or who wear mid-sleeved clothing are met with insults, spitting and in some cases physical abuse. In the urban squatter settlement of Mouasset el Zakat, in Al Marg, Greater Cairo, women told me that they hated walking in the streets now. Thanks to the lax security situation, they have restricted their mobility to all but the most essential of errands. Whereas a couple of years ago they could just inform their husbands where they were going (visiting parents, friends or going to the hairdresser for example), now they have to get their husbands or older sons to accompany them if they go out after sunset.

And the Islamists have made it worse. A Coptic Christian woman said to me “we and our Muslim friends who do not cover our hair get yelled at by men passing by telling us ‘just you wait, those who will cover you up and make you stay at home are coming, and then there will no more of this lewdness’”. It was, she said, as if they were gloating over the fact that we were being pushed off the streets.

As if? Surely there’s no “as if” about it – gloating is exactly what they were doing.

Another woman told me that girls and women wearing mid-sleeved clothing had been slapped on their bare arms by men on bicycles shouting slurs. Another told me she had been spat on by men telling her to cover up. Another told me that she had her hair up in a pony tail and a young man pulled it so hard that she thought her head was going to fall off. Another recounts how she was pushed and elbowed by a passerby telling her to cover her nakedness (she was wearing a mid-sleeved blouse and trousers).

This seems to be about 80% of what Islamism is about – rabid hatred of women. Hatred, loathing, contempt, disgust, and desire for anihilation. They want women not just to “cover up” but to stay at home – i.e. inside, locked up, out of the public realm, thus non-existent in the larger world. They feel entitled to assault any woman they see.

And some Coptic Christian bossy types are imitating the Islamists, telling “their” women to “cover up.” Some of those women staged a protest on May 18. Tadros was one of them.

As one of the organisers of this protest, I tried to explain why we couldn’t wait. I explained that if there is talk of women’s modesty today, tomorrow there is more pressure on veiling, the day after it is going to be a socially imposed ban on trousers, after that a ban on women’s freedom of mobility, until bit by bit, inch by inch we are driven back home.

Back to the world our great-grandmothers had to put up with. No thank you.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    raymoscow

    As someone who travels to Egypt regularly and has a lot of friends there, this makes me sad. It’s not unexpected, though: the most potent political force there, besides Mubarak & company, has long been the Islamists. It’s not that everyone or even most people accept their aims, but no one else is as well organised or as ruthless.

  2. 2
    slc1

    It would not surprise me if a lot of women in Egypt will soon be longing for the good old days of Mubarak.

  3. 3
    ash

    What a bizarre halucination living in Egypt must be now, and I mean for the men…It’s like they are all of that rare category of gay men who hate women. WTF.

    I can’t imagine feeling toward my mom and sisters (who I adore) the way these men feel about the women in their lives. I maen…shit. I never had considered this before, but it just dawned on me…Romantic love does not exist in those cultures. Is sex enjoyable to these men?

    Sorry for the ramble

  4. 4
    hexidecima

    just wait until these religion assholes start destroying the pyramids and the various relics of “pagans” just like they did in Afghanistan.

  5. 5
    Deepak Shetty

    Back to the world our great-grandmothers had to put up with. No thank you.
    Doesn’t look like we will have a choice.

  6. 6
    Traveling Txn

    Not that its at all practical, but wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a massive protest by Egyptian women over this and the women threatened to leave the country en mass? I cant imagine very many men would be willing to let this go on if there was a chance that most of the women would leave.

    Hopefully a truly democratic government is instituted in Egypt and womens rights are eventually protected by the laws. I suppose a lot of whether or not womens rights will be protected by the government will hinge upon if women are allowed to vote or not.

  7. 7
    Renegade Master (1984)

    The behaviour of Ophelia (lying, straw mans) and the rest of the FTB fascists (Laden, PZ, Steffy, Jen McWrong, Greta, etc.) has shown everybody in the atheist/skeptic movement just how important it is to stand up to these fascists and their feminazi bullshit.

    Thanks Darwin we have ERV where the FTB fascists can be called out. You are fascists, and make no bones about it, we will prevail. This is war. We will win. Hitler shot himself in his bunker, remember.

  8. 8
    Boomer

    What I fear most is that this trend is now happening even in North America and Europe.

    What is going to happen to women’s rights in 30 years time.

    ONe very important point the article didn’t address is the role women themselves play ( islamist women) in promoting veiling.

    The Brotherhood “sisters” actively contribute to the atmosphere of intimidation that is forcing women to completely cover up.

    The fact they’ll so blindly follow the ridiculous diktats of The Beards is big factor in this.

    Back in early 80s Iran, for example, when women were being forced to cover up, many of the ‘enforcers’ were women who seemed to take great delight in harassing and persecuting Iranian women. I strongly suspect that islamist women in Egypt take pleasure in seeing innocent, secular women agressed, insulted and spit upon by men.

    Secular women need to push back against these female islamist collaborators as much as they need to protest the clerics fatwas

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