Many women have bravely broken their silence and spoken of being sexually harassed by a student, Ahmed Bassem Zaki, who has now been arrested and faces prosecution.
Egyptian society has started making huge leaps on the matter of sexual harassment, with our honourable Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly proposing new laws that aim to impose harsh punishment on those accused of sexual harassment. The laws also both encourage and protect women that have been sexually harassed, in the hopes they will break their silence and share their stories, so that harassers would be subjected to the law.
An argument has been put across, placing part of the blame on the victims, blaming their subjection to harassment to the way they dress, where they go, or even going out without having male companions for protection. The respectable and moderate Al-Azhar proved that, from a religious perspective, all the blame is to fall on the harasser rather than the victim, which they proved with several ahadith (teachings of the Prophet Muhammed).
Surfing the trend, a certain preacher, AR, has made several videos talking about sexual harassment, in which he urged women to dress in an unprovocative manner and to act responsibly. Whereas he did not say that they are responsible for the harassment they suffered, he implied that it will help avoid the issue of harassment, using the example of an unlocked car being more prone to theft.
I find his opinion on the matter, and the example he used, not only lacking in basic human logic, but it is also disrespectful of women. His comparing ladies to objects that are subject to theft is simply unacceptable. This wasn’t the first time preachers use similar examples, I recall the example of uncovered sweets will attract flies was used at a certain point. The sad part is that his opinion was praised by a wide base of Egyptians.
AR has voiced several controversial opinions. On one occasion, he decided he should encourage women to not pursue a career, but rather stay at home and raise their kids, saying that this job is more fitting for a woman.
Let me ask you what will happen to our economy if 48.5% of the population decide to be unemployed, we will starve. Not taking into account that in Egypt, 3.3 million families are financially supported by working mothers.
Even though Mr AR thinks that women should get an education for the sole purpose of raising kids, this does not set an example for them and improve the world around them, as they always did in all fields to the extent of being head of states and pharaohs of our beloved country.
People like AR use their followers’ lack of awareness and faithfulness to their beliefs to gain fame. But their opinions are not only lacking solid knowledge of how the world around them works, but they also they twist the teachings of religion to fit social norms that appeal to their fan base and increase their fame.
When we need to interpret religious teachings we go to Al-Azhar, when we discuss unemployment we go to economists, and when we need laws forged for social cohabitation we follow our elect politicians, and these are the Prophet Muhammed’s teachings.
Pilot Mohamed El-Seidy: member of the Coalition of Party Youth Leaders and Politicians (CPYP)
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