The interview it’s exactly as the answers were given. Nothing was changed/edited.
Recently there were calls in Egypt for ‘liberation’ of the Muslim women, an article inviting and suggesting to be freed removing the hijab, and if that was not enough, the worst statement was “hijab provokes sexual harassment in the streets.” No! This is unacceptable. Clothing has nothing to do with rape and sexual harassment. If you claim to stand for justice and equality, YOU DO IT FOR EVERYONE, or should we in reality say: “Justice and equality only for those that don’t profess any faith”? When groups of this nature, make such statements it is a disgrace to any movement around the globe (including feminists). When did it become normal to blame victims of street harassment? Women with hijab, we are humans. We have rights. Women have the right to be uncovered and to cover if they choose it. As we have many questions, I interviewed an Egyptian activist, Abdullah Barakat. We discussed his latest video related to the “protest against the hijab” and street harassment:
As salamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Abdullah, what were your reasons behind the video?
Wa lykum alsalam wa rahmatullah. Well, I made this video after watching/reading some videos and articles for some public figures of what so-called “liberal and enlightenment movement”, like Fatima Naa’out and Amr Salama. In this videos and articles, they tried hard to make a connection between the girls who wears Hijab, and the sexual harassments in some of the Islamic countries including Egypt. They were building there theory on one main idea: “Countries that has the most sexual harassments are the countries that has huge amount of women who wears Hijab”. Therefore, I had to respond to this false and ridiculous accusation with some simple statistics and questions. According to the UN, In Rwanda, between 250 – 500 thousand women were raped during the ethnic cleansing, which took place in 1994. In Democratic Congo as well, more than 36 women is being raped (daily), and there was more than 200 thousand women raped there since 1998… Did any of this horrible acts happened because women there wears Hijab? The answer is NO. Back to Egypt again, Is the assaults here happening because women wears Hijab, or because there are many moral issues, ignorance, lack of education and religious morals, and some psycho men who wants to prove their superiority over women by harassing them?! Another questions; how can you “Liberals” turn your back to the psychos who do these terrible assaults, and blame the victim because she doesn’t wear something you like?! I’ve got no answer from any of them.
Every day we see headlines related to Sisi’s “war on terrorism”, do you think that is reality or is it a war on Islam?
Frankly, I think it is a war on everything but terrorism; actually, most of these wars are pure terrorism itself. I believe it is against not only Islam and Islamic principles; it is against every single person who believes in good and wants to stand for the right causes and defend them.
Some people keep questioning the legitimacy of Mursi . Sorry to ask but maybe some in Occident needs to hear it from an Egyptian citizen; do you think that Mursi was elected democratically?
I opposed Morsi in some of his decisions, but Yes, he was democratically elected, even people who hated him know this and they cannot deny it, actually he is the only president that was elected by people since the 1952 revolution, Morsi won the elections in a very healthy atmosphere. It was a close run, and Morsi won against Ahmad Shafiq (one of the old regime faces) with less than 2% difference. So no one can deny that it was free elections, even Sisi supporters, otherwise, they will look terribly stupid. Most of people who support 30/6 say that Morsi was truly elected but then he lost most of his popularity and so that he had to go and even if that true, then most of presidents all over the world would never make it to the end of their period.
Sorry to interrupt but till now for me that’s shocking, how someone elected, lost popularity like this?
Because of electricity and oil problems, the media worked on that and made people feel that Egypt will die
I must add this question; do you think that everything was politically/economically/militarily planned? I mean do you think that from the beginning was this?
Yes, 100% sure especially in the oil problem cars were lining in front of stations for long time, and guess what happened in the next morning of the coup?! Stations suddenly were full of oil
I remember that during this entire situation, mostly of the liberals / socialists were attacking strong Islam and Muslims, obviously including the Muslim Brotherhood. What is your position regarding this?
You mean back in morsi’s time?! When the revolution started in 2011 and after Mubarak’s regime had fallen, we were dreaming that in 10 years Egypt will be a better place. Ten years, not ten months!! So, I was supporting Morsi on this, he was the first elected president in our history, who was elected after 30 years of corruption, he needed more than a year to make people feel better in the economical side.
Now, in education made headlines the burning of Islamic books and women’s role through the history, do you think that has something to do with the mind of domination on women or that is just a direct open war on Islam?
Islam fought against corruption and injustice, and raised the values of justice and equality. These values are the nightmare of any dictatorship, which is why every dictator will do his best to make kids raised on other values; he may even try to change the Islam itself to make it less dangerous to him and to his regime. He will name these values as terroristic values, and he will try to limit the religion in some prayers. He will never get near Islam, except when he wants his Shikhs to allow him to kill in the name of Allah, so that people will accept it. While Allah’s name is far away from them.
Since the coup d’État the protests and demonstrations are forbidden, however, these haven’t stop, do you think the people will stop or just will keep going?
I expected people to stop long time ago, but surprisingly they did not, and I do not see them stopping soon. I met people who lost two or three members of their family, and yet they are still protesting. It is amazing how these people are still standing. They are very brave.
What is your position on hijab and the ‘liberation’ of Muslim women removing it? Do you believe that real liberation has something to do with the clothes as some affirm?
Allah taught us in Qur’an that everyone is responsible for his deeds, life is a book and everyone will write it as he want, and at the end he/she will face good with that book. Therefore, I will not judge a girl who wants to remove her Hijab. However, liberation has nothing to do with that. I believe that people who are saying these kind of things should be ashamed of their way of thinking, and they should liberate themselves from racism they have against the Islamic way of living/dressing/etc.
In your opinion sexual harassment can be prevented with sexual education?
I think education is important and vital to Muslim society, the first word of Qur’an was “read”. However, I believe sexual education is very sensitive matter, and it should be considering lots of factors, and Islamic values are on top of these factors.