Girl’s grotesque homicide and a sheikh blaming the sufferer reveal Egypt’s drawback with violence in opposition to girls

A household photograph shared broadly on social media exhibits Nayera Ashraf, an Egyptian scholar who was murdered on the age of 21 outdoors the gates of her college in Mansoura, Egypt, on June 20, 2022.

Cairo — One week in the past, 21-year-old Nayera Ashraf was about to stroll by the gates of her college in Egypt’s northern metropolis of Mansoura when a colleague approached her and stabbed her a number of instances. Horrific video of the assault exhibits her preventing for her life on the bottom as bystanders attempt to assist and the assailant waves his knife of their faces earlier than slicing her throat. 

It emerged later that Ashraf had rejected a wedding proposal from her attacker. The younger man was rapidly restrained and ultimately arrested, and Egypt’s public prosecutor referred him for legal prosecution on a cost of premeditated homicide. On the first listening to within the case on Sunday, prosecutors mentioned they’d discovered “messages threatening to chop her throat” from the person on Ashraf’s cellphone.

As tragic and grotesque as this crime was, violence in opposition to girls in Egypt is much from atypical, and the rhetoric utilized by one distinguished non secular determine proper after the homicide might assist to elucidate why.  

Not like some extra conservative Muslim nations, Egypt doesn’t have legal guidelines that require girls to cowl their hair in public. There are nonetheless many deeply conservative non secular students and preachers within the nation, nevertheless, who push a story that blames the victims for violence in opposition to girls — even for assaults as heinous because the one in Mansoura.  

The sufferer of final week’s assault, Ashraf, didn’t have her hair coated.

“When sheikhs talked about hijab (the Islamic scarf), we heard these saying, ‘it’s a matter of non-public freedoms!'” Sheikh Mabrouk Attia advised his 1 million-plus followers in a video posted to his social media channels on the identical day Ashraf was killed. “High quality then, depart your hair to fly over your cheeks and put on tight clothes, and people who are drooling will hunt you down and kill you.”

“In case your life is treasured to you, exit absolutely coated. Why? As a result of those that are poor and sexually disadvantaged will see you and minimize your throat, so go on and allow them to minimize your throat,” mentioned the sheikh, who’s the previous dean of Islamic research at Al-Azhar College, the oldest school in Egypt.  

The views voiced by Attia — who hosted his personal TV present for years and now seems on one other present weekly — will not be distinctive in Egypt or within the area. Many Islamic preachers push much more conservative concepts, insisting the hijab shouldn’t be sufficient and that girls’s complete our bodies and faces ought to be coated.

The mother and father and a member of the family of murdered College of Mansoura scholar Naiyera Ashraf attend the primary trial session of her accused assassin Mohamed Adel, on the Mansoura courthouse, north of Cairo, June 26, 2022.


However, maybe as a result of timing of his remarks, with Ashraf’s blood nonetheless staining the road in Mansoura, they drew a major backlash.  

Egypt’s Nationwide Council for Ladies condemned his statements and mentioned it might file a grievance in opposition to the cleric with the general public prosecutor’s workplace.  

“Societal tradition that entrenches and perpetuates patriarchal authority and the dominance of males finds in non secular motives a haven to impose management and restrict the roles of ladies and justify violence beneath its slogan,” Nagwa Ramadan, head of the Edraak Basis for Growth and Equality, advised Newsplaneta Information. 

She mentioned many individuals in Egypt, significantly in poorer, much less educated components of the nation, nonetheless “have nice confidence within the sheikh character,” usually, and switch to the non secular leaders for steering on their each day lives.

“A few of them take their phrases actually,” Ramadan mentioned, noting that distinguished figures comparable to Attia “are inquisitive about fatwas concentrating on girls generally, making them the main focus of fixed media consideration, which not directly results in an escalation of violence in opposition to girls.”

Egyptian protesters maintain placards and shout slogans throughout an illustration in Cairo in opposition to sexual harassment and violence, in a February 12, 2013 file photograph.


A research by the NCW discovered that 7.9 million Egyptian girls “undergo from all types of violence yearly, and fewer than 1% of this quantity report incidents or search assist.”  

The Edraak Basis mentioned it had documented 335 violent crimes in opposition to girls and ladies in Egypt between January and April of this yr alone. The variety of such crimes tallied by the group in all of 2021 was almost double the determine from the earlier yr.  

Past the worrying statistics, the brutality of the crimes can also be stunning. Simply days earlier than Ashraf was murdered outdoors the gates of her college, a person minimize off his spouse’s ears and stabbed her 20 instances after a home dispute.  

Fatema Khafagy, a number one Egyptian rights activist who has represented Egypt at numerous United Nations companies and heads the nationwide Feminists Union, advised Newsplaneta Information she believes a number of elements are fueling an increase in all types of violence in Egypt, together with faith, politics and financial woes.

She mentioned she couldn’t perceive, nevertheless, why preachers like Attia are allowed to proceed showing on tv to push their excessive views. 

“I do not know why they’re specializing in girls,” she advised Newsplaneta Information. “There’s a vanity and dedication that they know all of it. I imply, folks like this ought to be taken off all media. They need to be stopped, and sufficient, actually, actually sufficient faith.”

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