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Egypt: Men Should Wear the Veil!

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

With Islamists rising in post-revolution Egypt, fear of religious oppression is growing among youth, minorities, and women. Recently, a group of Egyptian women started a Facebook page in Arabic called “Echoing Screams” pointing out sexism in their society and the oppression that might be coming with the expected arrival of Islamists in power. The group has also started an event “Wearing Hijab in solidarity with women” [ar] that had the following description:

إذا كان الحجاب حرية شخصية و ليس رمزا للعبودية يرضونه للمرأة التي ينظرون لها كأداة جنسية و سلعة و عورة و لا يرضونه للرجال الذين إذا أرادوا إهانتهم قالوا “الرجالة لبسوا طرح”, فلن يهاجم دعاة تحجيب المرأة الرجال إذا إختاروا إرتداء الحجاب
They say the veil (Hijab) is a personal freedom and not a sign of enslaving women whom they look at as a sex object, a commodity, an Awrah, yet they use Hijab as a reference of disrespect when saying “men who wear hijabs” as to insult their manhood. Thus, those who call on women to wear Hijab should not attack men if they chose to wear Hijab.

The group posted several pictures of men wearing Hijab in the event page, one of which was taken from the campaign that Iranians launched online two years ago in support of a male student who was arrested for dressing up as a woman to escape Tehran, as authorities claimed. Tunisian netizens have also taken part in this event and have commented with laughter on the event's wall, leaving sarcastic comments against the Ennahda party, which won a majority in Tunisia's constituent elections last month, and its head Rached Ghannouchi.

Abdelhadi Ben Seghir commented [fr] on the event with criticism to Ghannouchi:

je suis pour le droit des frérots de porter le hijab.solidarité avec ghanoucha qui préfère le tchadri

I support my brothers who want to wear Hijab in solidarity with Ghannouchi who prefers the Chador!

Ines Ben Hamida was not optimistic about the event in her comment [fr]:

Les hommes est ce que vous pouvez mettre le voile pour nous je défie que vous seriez minorité minimine malheureusement :(

Men who will wear Hijab in solidarity will unfortunately be a small minority.

Facebook user Emad Basta wrote in disagreement on the event's wall:

I cannot agree to this, women should not cover up either, women are not a disgrace they are as equal in rights to any man if not even needing more rights as they are the ones responsible for the reproduction of the human race they are the queens of our world.
People calling for women to cover up are discriminatory and bigoted and should be persecuted, if women were a disgrace, then why were they created this way, this cover up issue is some men's idea of control. A women’s hair is not 3awra, it is beauty, people who want women to cover, are basically unable to control their sexual needs and should be prosecuted as menace to societies.

An Egyptian user called لا للرجعية والتطرف (no to backwardness and extremism) wrote [ar] he was against abusing religion in the name of politics:

لا لاستخدام شعارات دينية ولتسيس الدين، فالدين من المقدسات والمسلمات الدينية المطلقة، والسياسة من المتغيرات التى تقبل الخلاف والإختلاف
No to using religious signs and no to politicizing religion. Religion is sacred and religious beliefs are agreed upon while political changes are open to interpretation and disagreement.

Another Egyptian Amre El-Abyad wrote a comment about the role the Arab Spring should play in empowering women:

Arab Spring should not be about toppling dictators. Democracy starts at the mind level. We have to topple the taboos that are holding back our innovative potentials: patriarchy, misplaced religiosity and sexual obsessions. Hijab is an ancient Semitic custom- experienced at one time by so many cultures. Although it had seemed to be on its way of vanishing in the 20th century, it persisted and has gained wide currency all over the Arab world in our present time. Clearly, an indicator of our dire need to take the revolution up the cultural and mind levels.

The only male to have posted his picture was Magdy Abdelraheem saying he is showing solidarity:

Sa Neb went to discuss [ar] whether Hijab is a religious obligation or not:

إذا إرتدي الرجال الحجاب تضامنا مع النساء أصبح ذلك إعتراف منهم أن الحجاب جزء من أنثوية المرأة ، وأنا لا أراه فرضاً إسلامياً أصلاً
If men wore Hijab in solidarity with women that will be a confession that Hijab is part of a woman's femininity and I do not see it as an Islamic must.

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

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