In Egypt a popular Muslim cleric claims that the recent rape and sexual assault of female protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is justified.
Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah, also known as Abu Islam, is a prominent Salafi preacher who has justified the rape and sexual assault of female protesters by making the absurd claim that women protesters “are going to Tahrir Square because they want to be raped.” The ultraconservative Islamic cleric made his controversial claims in a video posted online Wednesday, Feb. 6.
Justifying a string of mob sexual assaults on women protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, and depicting the victims as loose women, the ultraconservative cleric and popular television personality said:
"They are going there to get raped ... These are devils named women ... They speak with no femininity, no morals, no fear ... Learn from Muslim women, be Muslims."
Corresponding to a wave of unrest since late January, sexual assaults on women protesters have spiked in Egypt, with at least 19 reported on Jan. 25 alone. In many cases, mobs stripped women, penetrating them with knives and other objects, according to reports.
Earlier this week Amnesty International released a briefing highlighting sexual violence against female protesters in Egypt, noting:
“Several women’s rights activists and others believe that the sexual assaults on women are organized and co-ordinated — possibly by state actors — with the aim of silencing them, excluding them from public spaces and the political events shaping Egypt’s future, and breaking the resistance of the opposition...”
In Egypt, Muslim hard-liners have reacted with fury to protests against Islamist President Mohammad Mursi since late January. Critics claim the Muslim Brotherhood is sending operatives into the protests to sexually harass and assault women demonstrating against the government.
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