Skip to comments.Cairo street crowds target women
Posted on 11/07/2006 1:40:34 PM PST by Eurotwit
The incidents were first reported online by Egyptian bloggers, some of whom saw large number of men harassing the women and ripping off their clothes.
It all happened over the Eid al-Fitr period starting on 23 October, as thousands of young men thronged the streets of central Cairo to celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
One blogger who took pictures of what happened dubbed the incidents "sexual voracity down town".
According to the bloggers, the attackers targeted veiled as well as unveiled women who happened to be on their own.
The state media ignored the incidents, but ordinary Egyptians where shocked when they heard for the first time eyewitness accounts broadcast on the private television channel Dream.
"We saw one girl being chased by a man, her blouse torn off, she ran inside a restaurant," one eyewitness reported.
We took the girl inside and locked the door. There were four or five of us. But there were hundreds of young men outside trying to break down the door Cairo shop owner
"Seconds later young boys were shouting that there was another one by the Miami cinema. We went there and saw another girl surrounded by a crowd trying to assault her. She managed to run inside a nearby building.
"A third girl jumped into a cab as she was being chased. But the taxi couldn't move because of the crowd. Then they tried to pull the driver out of the car then the girl herself," the witness told Dream TV.
One eyewitness was too embarrassed to recount what he saw: "There were youths harassing the young women. What a shame! I really can not say any more about it."
One blogger wrote that as the police failed to protect the women, shop keepers had to intervene.
A shop owner described to the TV station what happened: "We took the girl inside and locked the door. There were four or five of us. But there were hundreds of young men outside trying to break down the door."
The bloggers blamed the incidents on widespread sexual frustration among Egypt's youths.
Most of them cannot afford to get married and premarital sex is strictly forbidden.
One commentator said that this was evidence of the breakdown of law and order in Egypt.
Another said the state deployed the police only to suppress political dissent but could not care less about the welfare of its own citizens.
A psychologist, Amr Abu Khaleel, attributed the predatory behaviour to the possible use of drugs and the breakdown of traditional values. Egyptians are horrified by the news that women have been assaulted by hordes of young men in the centre of the capital, Cairo.
One prominent writer and journalist, Nabeel Sharaf al-Deen, said that such behaviour was the symptom of a deeper malaise in Egyptian society and warned that such incidents were the first stirrings of much bigger social unrest.
A statement by the ministry of the interior played down the incident, adding that it had not received any complaints from the public. It urged those who had anything to report to contact the police.
Egyptian views on street assaults
Three young women in Cairo give their reactions to news that women were assaulted by crowds of young men in the city during Eid celebrations.
HANIN HANAFY, DEVELOPMENT WORKER, CAIRO, 28
I think chaos is spreading in Egypt.
There are the social and economic problems which mean that there's no work and people are too poor to get married.
Cairo Eid crowds: Bloggers say the picture shows a shop owner giving shelter to a woman who was assaulted
Blogs broke the story that has scandalised Egyptians (Picture: misrdigital.com)
There are problems with a lack of democracy. And also a lack of basic services such as decent education and transport.
You can't even walk safely along the street, there are so many road accidents.
It all points to one thing: a state which does not protect its people or provide them with the basics.
The targets for all these problems become the women - or Christians - who are the most vulnerable.
I can believe the police did nothing to help, because it has happened before.
In May last year women taking part in a political demonstration were sexually harassed in front of police.
Some incidents were encouraged by the officers, to frighten women away from demonstrations. This is the way police often handle security in public places.
But at the end of the day the police are not the problem; the issue is one of a state and society in collapse.
DINA ORIBY, INTERNATIONAL MUSLIM WOMEN'S NGO, CAIRO, 27
This is quite shocking. This incident was an attack on all our values. It went beyond everything we condemn.
In Egypt we don't approve of having intimate relationships in the street; of people kissing or holding hands.
So how come we have reached such an extreme of touching and bothering people?
I do think it reflects the state of corruption we live in.
I'm talking about a lack of good education and upbringing. I think the role of parenthood and Islamic preaching is missing.
We're concerned with how to pray and fast, but not with how to bring up good citizens.
Parents need to know how to punish and how to reward.
The state schools are deteriorating more and more. There are some good schools, but they only take the children of the wealthy.
I don't blame the police for not doing more. They are not paid enough and not appreciated properly. They are poor people in the first place, they are miserable and suffering too.
We have a problem in Egypt that our rights aren't protected anyway.
ELHAM FATHI, TRANSLATOR, CAIRO, 24
I was shocked when I read about this in the blogs. I nearly cried; I pictured myself having to face this kind of shameful experience.
I think there are many reasons young men are behaving like this. It shows how desperate they have become through poverty and unemployment. This means they have to wait longer before they can get married.
The media also has a role to play in this through the images it presents. Movies show heroes as drug addicts and outlaws.
Video clips and commercials use women's bodies and bad language to sell things.
I can believe that the police did nothing to help the women, because I have had experience of this myself.
Once, when I was being kerb-crawled by a man in a car I ran to a policeman for help. He said it was none of his business.
I hope the brothers and fathers of the girls go find these yutes and give some family justice. No excuse for that behaivor.
Paris? Cairo? What's the difference?
I guess the Liberal response would be to up the money we give to the Egyptian government. /S
I thought this only happened in Europe...
I hope they don't kill the girls to restore the family honor.
Business as usual, we're just paying more attention to these barbarians now.
DAMN Egyptian cops didn't do jack
Damn that Bush!
Sounds like the money Uncle Sam is sending to Egypt, mainly so the country can remain stable, isn't helping much. I hope this does not forbode an islamic revolution and establishment of harsh Sharia law in Egypt. That would just create an ally of Hamas in Gaza and, maybe even bring Egypt back into war with Israel.
Reminds me of Central Park.
Yup. Under islam, it's the fault of the women for being unescorted by a male relative. After all, such women are like unprotected meat. You can't expect the cats to stay away. (just paraphrasing that crazy Australian muslim imam).
And the internal preventive to a Sharia coup may be almost as bad. I would not rule out a return to a hard line anti Western Stalinist regime, ala Nasser.
Preview of America without full force of the 2nd Amendment.
I read recently from an Imam? "If you put a can of cat food out and the cat eats it, it is not the cats fault"!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.