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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The "veil your lollipop" campaign???

In Egypt, Some Women Say That Veils Increase Harassment

"Surprisingly, some Egyptian women say that their veils don't protect against harassment, as the lollipop ads argue, but fuel it. A survey released this summer supports the view."
This Washington Post article addresses a serious problem within this particular city (and maybe elsewhere).  I spent time in Cairo studying Arabic in 2007.  My wife and I traveled with MSA members from college.  The sisters on the trip did not have an enjoyable time in Cairo...to say the least.  One of their major concerns was the HARASSMENT they received by the some of the Muslim men.  I would often listen to some very explicit stories of taxi drivers exposing themselves, brothers touching them, or men suggesting inappropriate things to Muslim females. 
Two-thirds of the Egyptian men surveyed admitted to harassing women, in actions ranging from staring openly at their bodies, shouting explicit comments, touching the women or exposing themselves.
"It makes a woman happy when I call to her. It makes her know she's attractive," 20-year-old Alla Aldin Salem said on the sidewalk in Mohandisseen, after going out of earshot of the glaring fellow vendor in hijab.
As we began to learn more about Egyptian culture, we learned that there are way too many single brothers in Cario.  I found myself asking why? Why don't they just get married?  If it were only that easy for the average Egyptian brother.

I may be off on a few details but generally this is what I find the problem to be:  Most Egyptian men are not married because in Egyptian culture the men often have to provide large dowries consisting of (for example) a FURNISHED apartment, money, rings, etc.  Not only that, they often have to be very much "accepted" by the bride's family.  Most Egyptian men are not that financially stable in a city who's population and cost of living mirrors that of NYC for the average Egyptian man.

This is in no way an excuse for the above described behavior.  However, a society of Muslims who value family as much as they do, Cairo and much of Egypt should really look at the problems arising within their cities and come up with Islamic solutions.  As I've mentioned before, the hijab is more than an article of clothing (which is never referred to as such in the Qur'an), it serves a serious purpose.  WE should, at the very least, respect modesty.

1 comments:

dawudwalid said...

As-Salaamu `Alaykum,

One reason why zawaj al-`urfi (Egyptian version of zawaj al-mut'ah - temporary marriage) is running rampant there is due to the situation that many young men cannot afford to get married. I'm not excusing it either, but sexual repression is part of the blame of these excesses.

On the flip side, Egypt also has a problem with female genital mutiliation, which was just made illegal recently. The Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa just issued a fatwa against "female circumcision" last year.

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