Women activists in Egypt are more than concerned about threats to rights, about threats to their lives, and they are taking to the streets in Cairo to say so. They are upset about the blind eye the State turns toward violence against women, and they are worried about the new constitution which may pretty much subject them to oppression under Sharia law, as interpreted by the top men of Egypt.
The New Women's Foundation has reported, for example, on the recent sexual harassment in downtown Cairo of two young women who were beaten when they objected.
On Thursday, September 27, two Egyptian girls were walking in the commercial center of downtown by the infamous al-Shawarby street at around three in the afternoon. One of the girls was attacked suddenly when a seller jumped on her, kissing and hugging her by force.
She screamed and fought him, only to have him call his friends to join in the battering and abuse frenzy.
The two girls were beaten with a stick and pulled by the hair. Deciding to take the men to the police station, they fell into a web of bureaucracy.
Protesters, who gathered outside the Shura Council where the Constituent Assembly drafting the charter meets, said that the reference to compatibility with "Sharia rulings," would allow for different interpretations by Islamic scholars that may curtail rights of women.
Article 36 has been of particular concern for women's rights activists. Excerpts of draft text reveal that it seeks to lower the marriage age, legalize female genital mutilation and use Islamic jurisprudence in a way that could limit women's rights to work and education.
Critics say that such phrasing of Article 36 would open the door to violations of women’s rights by extremist views and interpretations of Sharia.
"All the leaked articles are terrifying. There is no basis for equal citizenship rights for men and women. The constitution is being written behind closed doors. They will write it and then go to the mosques and tell people to vote ‘yes’" in a referendum on the constitution."
The controversial draft clause suggests that the state will reinforce gender equality in all spheres but in accordance with the interpretations of Sharia (Islamic law). The writing of the constitution is dominated by hard line Muslim fundamentalists. The process of drafting a new constitution has been widely criticised for being shrouded in secrecy.
Public Figures: Dr. Mohamed Abul-Ghar, Dr. Hussam Eissa, Amr Mousa, Dr. Amr Hamzawi, Dr. Jalal Amin, Dr. Mohamed Nour Farhat, Dr. Abdel-Galeel Mostafa, Dr. Ziyad Bahaa El Din, Dr. Hazim El Beblawi, Mr. Ahmad El Ghandour, Dr. Abdel-Azeem Hammad, Dr. Sameer Murqos, Mr. Basem Kamel, Ms. Niam El Baz, Ms. Shuhra Ameen Elalam, Mr. Khalid Hal, Dr. Mouna Zulfikar, Dr. Essam Elislambouly, political activist George Ishac, Writer Gamal Fahmy, Writer Abdallah El Sinnawi, Writer Sakina Fouad, Director Khalid Youssef, Director Hala Khalil, Artist Fayrouz Karawya, Attorney Ameer Salim, Ms. Inas Mekkawi, Dr. Houda Badran, Dr. Fatma Khafaji, Ms. Niveen Ebeid, Ms. Amal AbdelHadi, Dr. Rajia Omran, Dr. Anisa Hassouna, Mr. Rami Shaath, Dr. Nadia Abdel Wahab, Mr. Ahmad Fawzi, Ms. Farida El Shoubashi, Mr. Farid Zahran, Ms. Amani El Khayyat, Dr. Hana AbulGhar, Mr. Yasser Rizk, Ms. Fadya Mougheeth, Ms. Shahinda Maklad, Ms. Nourelhouda Zaki, Ms. Nahed Eissa, Ms. Azza Balbaa, Ms. Kareema El Hefnawi, Ms. Souad Hammoudah, Ms. Safa El Sawi, Ms. Fatin Mohammad Ali, Ms. Shams El Atrubi, Attorney Hala Fouad Riyad, Dr. Manal Omar, Mr. Hussein AbdelGhani, Dr. Mouna Abul-Ghar, Dr. Nouhad Abul Qumsan, Ms. Mouna Moneer, Dr. Niveen Mousad, Ms. Buthaina Kamel, Writer Mohammad Salmawi, Dr. AbdulGhaffar Hanneish, Dr. Fawzi El Aryan, Mr. Alaa AbdulMonem, Mr. Mustafa El Guindi, Mr. Mohammad Youssif, Dr. Fathiyya El Assal, Ms. Samira Ebrahim, Ms. Samya Jaheen, Mr. Mohammad ElEjatty, Ms. Ghada Shahbandar, Shaheeda Al baz, Ne3m Al baz, Safaa Zaki Mourad, Ahmed Saied, Amr Al Shobaky and Emad Abo Ghazi.
The following is from Human Rights First. It includes some links, including one to a detailed report documenting human rights abuses against women in Egypt, found in the post below are worth checking out.