No one to control them

When in doubt, harass women.

Shahira Amin has an article at Index on Censorship about the harassment of women in Tahrir Square.

Egyptian Salafi preacher Ahmed Mahmoud Abdulla — known as Abou Islam — recently made remarks justifying sexual violence against female protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, claiming that women who join protests are asking “to get raped”…

In a video posted online last Wednesday, Abdulla said that women who join the protests are “either crusaders who have no shame or widows who have no one to control them”. He also described them as “devils”, and added that “they talk like monsters”.

Yes that’s right, just throw everything. It all sticks, so it’s all good to throw.

It’s interesting how familiar and domestic the preacher sounds though. A mere two years ago I wouldn’t have had that thought, but now it jumps off the page at me. The Salafi preacher sounds exactly like our more local harassers.

BBC World had a distressing – not surprising, but distressing – report on harassment of women in Tahrir Square yesterday, by Aleem Maqbool. He talks to some boys/young men in the square, who are frankly there to leer at and assault women, and who think rape is a joke.

Back to Shahira Amin.

While the increased violence against women has been cause for growing concern, the long-awaited new legislation, the increased willingness of women to speak out and the growing number of NGOs fighting harassment (either by spreading awareness about it, encouraging women to speak out or protecting women during protests) are all encouraging signs of positive change to come. Rights activists welcome the change but insist that more needs to be done to end gender-based discrimination.

“Changing the attitudes of men and women can only take place through education and awareness campaigns, ” said activist Azza Kamel of Fouada Watch, an NGO that has established a round-the-clock hot line for victims to report incidents of sexual harassment, verbal abuse or assaults against women. Kamel also advocates training of the police, traditionally known to take harassment reports lightly . “But above all”she said, there must be zero tolerance for those who incite violence against women (referring to the recent comments by Salafi preacher Abou Islam.)

“Such extremists must be silenced. Incitement is as big a crime as the assault itself”, Kamel added.

Don’t get your hopes up.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Maybe somebody who knows Arabic naming customs could set me straight on this, but I can’t help but think that a preacher who calls himself “Father of Islam” may have a bit of an ego problem. (On top of his sexism and superstition issues.)

  2. rnilsson says

    Pierce, you may be on to something there. A politician in Sweden for the Christian Democrats’ more black-robed flange, as I understand it, took himself the name Sacredeus. Apparently there was a critical accent on one of those e’s, to somehow soften the sacrilege and hubris. Again, if I understand it correctly. Not exactly Arabic but yet perhaps a bit of a parallel in some sense.

  3. says

    “Such extremists must be silenced. Incitement is as big a crime as the assault itself”, Kamel added.

    But, but, but FREEZE PEACH!
    Surely, saying that such people must be silenced is a much greater crime than anything that happens to the women of Egypt.
    Tsss, priorities, people!

  4. evilDoug says

    Apparently he has a son named Islam. The pair of them have been charged with bible burning.

    Here is another bit of video of him.

    An Egyptian Salafi preacher said raping and sexually harassing women protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is justified, calling them “crusaders” who “have no shame, no fear and not even feminism.”


    So, wimminz, you should have shame and fear and (I suspect he/translator means) femininity. But especially shame and fear.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    evilDoug @ # 5: Apparently he has a son named Islam.

    That probably gets him off the hook by Arab standards – and only a low-minded infidel would dare to suggest that his son received that name so that Daddy could get some mileage out of it.

  6. Duke Eligor says

    Most arabic names are actually words used in their language. So, his son’s name is just as accurately Submission, and he is the father of Submission, and his name Ahmad Mahmoud Abdulla is Most Blessedly Blessed Servant of God. Taking the name “Islam” (or Muhammad) is not blasphemous or strange. Remember when Cat Stevens became Yusuf Islam?

    And in any case, how many people of European descent are named “Christian” or “Christopher” or “Christine” or some other such name? Not to mention the number of Jesuses from Spanish-speaking countries. Not really all that different.

    Oh, and the guy’s a dolt anyhow. He should change his name to Khara Abu Khara.

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