The proliferation of Islamists to power over the last year has left moderate Egyptians and especially women worried and angry.
After three decades under the Mubarak regime, the country is suffering from a decaying infra-structure, a failed education and non-existing health care system, and more than 50% of her citizens are living under the poverty line. A year after the revolution, the dysfunctional government has reached a state of paralysis, dragging the country to a verge of an economic crisis. But with the rise of Islamists to power, nothing seems more essential at this crucial time in the history of the country other than devoting their time to implement their own version of reforms, for women’s issues.
The overwhelming victory of Islamists in the first parliamentary elections after the fall of Mubarak’s regime left the women of Egypt at cross roads. The major role they played in the success of the revolution, protesting side by side to their male peers, has already been forgotten. In less than two months after the Islamists took power, the women are witnessing in fear the rebirth of the Iranian nightmare, and the meager rights that were thrown to them like bread crumbs are now in question.
Mohamed al-Omda, deputy head of the People’s Assembly’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, has submitted a draft law suggesting the cancelation of khul (a woman’s right to get a divorce at a court if she pays her husband back the marriage settlement). The reasoning behind the repeal of divorce law is that it came as a result of the implementations of western strategies that are targeted to spoil the Egyptian family and social values.
Another proposal was submitted by Adel Afifi, member of the human rights committee in the parliament, to repeal the law that banned the marriage of Egyptian women to foreign men who are twenty five years their senior. His reasoning was that the Sharia law didn’t suggest an age difference for a married couple. As Egypt is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children who are subjected to conditions of sex trafficking, this law was especially drafted to fight the legalized human trafficking of minors, sold, by their families, into marriages to Arab men, who are often as fifty years older than them.
The major setback, that was described by women’s rights organizations as the rape of minors, came from parliament member Nasser Mustafa Shaker, who submitted a proposal to decrease the marriage age of girls to sixteen years old or even younger, if the girl’s menstrual cycle had commenced.
These demands of the parliament members are a direct threat to the women of Egypt, and just the thought that they are even discussed is a clear degradation to their status. Without sufficient women’s representation in the parliament, the Egyptian legislators have no opposition in their efforts to return women back to medieval times. It is not enough that women have no saying in deciding what is best for them, but it is also becoming clear that the driving force, of those who have claimed themselves to be the custodians of women’s virtues, is pedophilia.