Al-Azhar: 'A fatwa against those who harass women'

The prestigious Sunni Islam institution condemns sexual harassment. In Egypt, 60% of women are victims of harassment. "Women's clothing or behavior must not under any circumstances justify these acts" which constitute an attack on the dignity and freedom of women".


Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A fatwa condemning those who sexually harass women. The ruling was issued by the prestigious Sunni Islam Al-Azhar, which for the first time decided to take a stand against a widespread phenomenon within the Islamic world.

According to data published in 2017 by the UN, in Egypt 60% of women are victims of harassment. Three quarters of men attribute the blame for these acts to the behavior of women and their clothing.

In the statement published yesterday, Al-Azhar condemns "prohibited acts and deviant behavior". It also affirms that "women's attire or attitude should under no circumstances justify these acts" which constitute an "attack on the dignity and freedom of women". And he adds: "He who practices these harassments is a sinner". The Islamic institution asks the authorities to "enforce the law that criminalizes these acts" and "to punish the guilty". The edict follows a law adopted in 2014 that criminalizes sexual harassment.

The problem of harassment came to public attention during the 2011 protests that led to the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. At the protests in Tahrir Square thousands of women were harassed. Following this, some volunteers organized themselves to protect women during the demonstrations.

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