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The Victimization of Egyptian Women and Children

Fantasia is a girl who dreams of a better future for Egyptian women. Writing about herself, she says:

“I am proud to be a girl and I want to spread the word among all females. I believe in female superiority as opposed to all the false claims that have been laid through history to prove the opposite. I want girls, especially in my country, to start believing in themselves and to be valuable citizens who actively join the work force and push their society to positive change.”

Fantasia's World raises crucial issues that hold back the Egyptian society all together; namely women's rights, violence against women and children, and the general misconceptions of male-female relationships in the Egyptian society and in the Arab world. In a recent post, she tackles the issue of how Egyptian women and children are being victimized by traditions, law, and the Muslim Brothers.

In her post, Fantasia touches base on the laws dealing with children's rights which were amended in the aftermath of a whirlwind of debates in Egypt. The articles are being revised due to the fierce resistance of the Muslim Brotherhood, who occupy 88 seats in the Egyptian Parliament. They “disfigure anything they object to, and represent it in the most horrible attire to the masses who have come to consider them as their trusted source of information and ready made judgements” wrote Fantasia.

With a lot of insight, Fantasia portrays how the life of a typical Egyptian mother is a living hell; she has no say in how many children she could have because for as long as her husband wants children, it is her duty as an obedient wife to grant him the kids his heart desires.

“then, she becomes responsible for nourishing those kids, upbringing them alone (just like a single mom) looking after their health, taking them to school, helping with their homework (if she is educated), besides her regular chores of course, and satisfying her husband in every possible way. Which means, that basically this woman never gets a chance to have any time for herself,” adds Fantasia.

In a not-so-rare scenario in Egypt, the man has the right to beat his wife and children as much and as severely as he wishes and no criminal charges can be filed against him – unless one of them dies as a result of this beating. Why?

“Because some crazy sadistic men have claimed that this is an authorized tool for disciplining a man's wife and children in Islam! Which is absolutely not true” explains the infuriated Fantasia.

In 2008, and for the first time, new laws are being endorsed to protect children in Egypt. According to Fantasia, those laws include:

1- Prohibiting the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and considering it a criminal act which deserves to be punished by law.

2- Considering severe beating of a child by his/her parents to be a violation against child rights, and therefore authorities will have the right to press charges against the parent in case of severe injuries and causing disabilities.

3- Raising the age of marriage for females to 18 and any female under this age can not have a legal marriage certificate.

4- Giving a mother the right to register her children under her name in the case of conceiving and giving birth to a child outside of wedlock.

The Muslim Brotherhood objected saying [Ar]:

1- FGM should be left as a matter of choice. If parents wish to preserve the “chastity” of their daughters through this procedure, then it is their way of protecting her and deciding what is good for her!

2- The Muslim Brotherhood considers the banning of corporal punishment to be imported to Western societies saying that it is an authorized method of disciplining children according to Islam.

3- MBs like the idea of kids getting married in the name of preserving their chastity and forming a young family.

4- Children who are the fruit of an sinful relationship should be condemned for having an adulterous mother. If this law is accepted, the society and family ties will suffer and men and women will have nothing to stop them from fornification.

“Yeah.. yeah. Great macho men! So, this is religion, huh? We are supposed to buy this, aren't we? So, Islam for you is a religion that rewards sadists, psychos and brutal men, while it punishes women and children, the scum of earth, right? Now, let me see this clearly. According to you, we are worshiping a sick man in the sky.. for this being you are claiming to talk on behalf of can never be a deity of any kind.. he can not raise to the level of the human even! What a bunch of psychos you are! I bet that the devil himself has got more ethics than you do,” concludes Fantasia.

16 comments

  • My word Marwa, what a battle for humanity! FGM is surely one of the sickest traditions on the planet and as you point out it is enshrined in the Male dominated cultures of N.E. Africa. Although I read the bit about the Muslim Brotherhood in government I wondered what the Coptic church had to say on the matter? even though Copts in Egypt are nearly as oppressed as women, you would think this would be reason enough to stand as one and be counted.
    I was always amused at pools when one noticed fat men in Speedos sitting with their black-veiled women! if only they were all covered! lol, however,different cultures are by definition in contradiction to each other, so why should I judge?
    The siedi women I have worked with were “all valuable citizens who actively worked to push their society in a positive direction” but many were, I’m told, abused in the manner you’ve quoted as children.
    I only hope that there will come a time when they will gain their freedom at birth before mutilation and humiliation and that social scares can be healed without an equal and opposite reaction against men.

  • Abdu

    I am a muslim man and I agree whole heartedly with Fantasia: Our “muslim brothers” do not follow the real Islamic doctrine and are not following the traditions and example of our beloved prophet (pbuh), for he never condoned or used repression, abuse or violence in any form whatsoever.
    FGM should be harshly dealt with and totally banned and has nothing to do with Islam. Women should stand up all over the muslim world and reclaim their real islamic rights and denounce publicly and openly any form of inequity and violence from their so called “muslim brothers” and from their legislators at large.
    To degrade our “Muslim Sisters” is one of the worst thing that could happen to our “Civilization”, and the root cause of a decent, solid and prosperous society is a harmonious and respectful family environment where children could grow healthy in all aspect of social life.
    I sincerely pray for the well being of my muslim sisters and stand with them until this fight is finally won. Women are our biggest assets we should honor and help them; every man should make his wife a queen so she can in turn make him a real king. And let us have respect for our children so they can respect us in return.

  • Andy, thank you so much for your comment .. thing is … it is not about Muslims and Coptics … it has moved from bieng a religious stance to a cultural norm!!! Everything that Fantasia wrote is applied equally by Muslims and Copts … I guess this is one of their few areas of agreement!

  • Abdu .. you are absolutely right! What hurts the most is that those mothers who were mutilated when they were little girls believe in this nonsense and, with their own hands, they drag their tiny daughters to those clinics!!

  • Yes Marwa, I mentioned the Copts to their shame and because we know that they are not in power, that’s all. It would be great if Abdu would use his knowledge of Islam to prove that these things cannot be done in the name of Islam. And as for the Copts they should know that if a man must lay down his life for his wife as Christ laid down his life for the church then it shouldn’t need saying that both parents should do the same for any of their children, in particular young girls.
    As you say, the thought that mothers take these children down back streets for FGM is horrific. But my point is that any crisis that goes unresolved waits for intervention, however, no one liked Bush and Blair sticking their noses into Iraq’s problems so hats off to those locals who will do something or atleast lead the way?

  • Dina

    Long live Fantasia! :)

    Reading things like this makes my blood boil, to know that there are still people out there with this overwhelming amount of utter retardation and self-created psychological imbalance. In my head, I cannot but yield to my inner devil and wish them all a very painful and immediate death. I can’t have sympathy for anybody that sees it lawful to humiliate a child as such, or a woman. But when I think about it, I doubt their death would accomplish anything, as they’ve spread their diseased thoughts into the culture too far. All I can hope for is education, education, and some more education for all women everywhere, muslim or not, arab or not, so that they know what their real rights are as human beings, and not those they’ve come to believe in from a society run by sadistic males.

    Thank you for having the courage to speak out, Marwa. I love reading your posts.

  • Keep writing Fantasia, keep speaking out. One voice can change the world.
    Bright Blessings,
    Lynn

  • Hani Michel

    One can write a whole book about Fanta’s activities and her points of view.
    Only two major points about women and children rights are mentioned in this article, Fanta has other activities against extremism, equality between men and women in testimony ,women work rights in Egypt, Honor Killings, Sexual harassment against women , forcing women to wear “Hijab”, Masr El Gedeeda monthly Magazine.

    Congratulations all. The new laws to protect children in Egypt have been approved yesterday in the Egyptian Parliament.

  • I’m overwhelmed! Oh God! Thank you again dear Marwa for letting this article reach readers of Global Voices Online. And I wanna seize the chance to add a quick update. The Egyptian Parliament held another session to discuss those laws after undergoing amendments for the third time! Guess what happened! The MPs who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood kept cursing all those who agreed to the amended laws from the National Party, a big fight started and they had to take a break to calm people down.. Then while trying to resume the session, the respectful MPs resumed their quarrel with a twist.. for they started using their hands to hit those whom they wanted to shut up! It’s all written in yesterday’s newspapers and on the cover page of Al-Ahram. I still can’t believe though!
    But, what.. that’s not all. The leader of Al-Wafd liberal party (Mahmoud Abaza) joined the Muslim Brothers in objecting to raising the age of marriage for females to 18, saying that “it is a big mistake”!!What’s this for God’s sake? Can someone tell me what’s going on?

  • I’d like to thank everybody for their encouragement. It is much needed, I gotta say. Thanks Lynn and Dina.. Grateful for giving me this wonderful moment while reading your comments. Next time depression strikes hard, I’ll know where to turn.

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