Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Egyptian Women Beat Up Salafi Morality Police

"Give them a finger, and they'll take the whole hand" is an apt cliché for the ultra-conservative Islamists in Egypt.  For decades they were banned from forming a political party under the mostly secular Hosni Mubarak's regime.  But now that they've won a majority, with the Salafists garnering about 30% of the vote in recent elections, they're like caged animals who have suddenly been set free.  The Salafists (the most fundamentalist of them all) want to impose their skewed religious ideology on the rest of the Egyptian population, whether they want it or not.

Of course, those who will suffer the most under an Islamist majority government would be the women of Egypt.  But after decades of secular living and actively participating in the Arab Spring movement, I'm not sure they won't go down without a fight. At least the more secular ones won't. And they proved that in Benha, a town in north-eastern Egypt.
A group of ultra-conservative Salafis got more than they bargained for after bursting into a beauty salon in the Egyptian town of Benha in an attempt to enforce “God’s law” on the women inside reported the online newspaper, Bikya Masr.

The women were told to stop what they were doing or face physical punishment from the group.

But instead of complying out of fear, or calling for help, the women took matters into their own hands by striking back.

They beat and whipped the vigilante gang “with their own canes before kicking them out to the street in front of an astonished crowd of onlookers,” Egyptian online newspaper, Bikya Masr, reported

It looks like the Salafists are already trying to flex their religious muscles, and if Egyptian women don't nip it in the bud before it's too late, they're going to find themselves dressed in niqabs like their Saudi sisters.

Apparently the beauty salon incident wasn't the first of its kind. Salafis (like their Saudi brothers) have recently been conducting surprise inspection raids on other shops to make sure everyone (owner and customers alike) are in compliance with "God's Law". That means no more clean-shaven faces, and 'indecent' clothing is a no-no. And we all know that in Islam anything other than a niqab and abaya is considered indecent. And it's not just Muslim businesses they're targeting, they've also allegedly destroyed any Christmas decorations in area shops and malls because Christmas is for infidels and therefore forbidden.

Granted, this particular group of zealots was just created, fashioning itself after the similar Saudi 'Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice' (CPVPV), and even going so far as using the same name. But no-one wants to claim ownership of that group including Al-Azhar (Egypt's main mosque in Cairo) and the Salafi al-Nour Party, which denies any connection whatsoever to that group in spite of the CPVPV claiming they are.  In fact, in response to Al-Azhar's rejection they posted a statement to their Facebook page:

“The Committee, which millions of Egyptians have agreed to, and expressed their desire to see its members diligently apply God’s law, draws the attention of our brothers in Al-Azhar to what happened in the last elections when millions of citizens voted for Salafi parties.”

Trouble is brewing in Egypt, if even the Islamists can't control their ultra-conservatives. But hopefully the women will save the day. You go girls!


Epiphyte said...

The morality police will simply progress to strategically placed bombs, targeted assassinations and singling out individual women when they are alone or vulnerable, as they do everywhere from Grozny to Iraq. That is why Mohammad said, "I have been made victorious through terror."

Incognito said...

I know [sigh].

I try to be hopeful and positive, but the truth is, you are absolutely right. If not assassination it will be acid or disfigurement.

Cranky White Woman said...

Yes, acid seems to be quite popular with the Muslim "men" (I use that word loosely). A woman isn't interested in you? Well, throw some acid in her face so nobody else will want's a no brainer. *rolling my eyes*

I think the Muslim women suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.

Incognito said...

CrankyWhiteWoman: It's a a religious and cultural thing. If you are told you aren't worth anything, or half of what a man is worth, you start to believe that.

there's also a huge amount of domestic abuse to contend with. that'll keep a woman in her place.

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