Islamists have been harassing shop owners and female customers in rural towns around Egypt for ‘indecent behaviour’ and enforcing Sharia law. Shop owners have been told they can no longer sell ‘indecent’ clothing, barbers can no longer shave men’s beards, and customers ordered to veil and threatened with severe punishment if they did not abide by ‘God’s law on earth’.
Okay yes, I know business as usual… But when they burst into a beauty salon in the Nile delta town of Benha and ordered the women to stop what they were doing or face physical punishment, the women struck back, whipping them with their own canes before kicking them out to the street.
Now the ‘moderates’ will tell you that these are the acts of mere vigilantes. But that is how it always starts. The ‘vigilantes’ are at least more honest. They point to the al Nour party’s win of nearly 30% of parliamentary seats as giving them a mandate to enforce Sharia. And they say they have the moral and financial backing of that party.
On hearing the news of the women’s fight back, someone has suggested that ‘the women should be deputized to protect the revolution’s democratic values’.
Can I second that please?
Maryam Namazie likely has the best blog on the internet for understanding issues of feminism and religious freedom in the Islamic world. While your there, I suggest reading more of her work.
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