EGYPT: Islamists & Salafist attempt to legalise Paedophilia
National Council for Women (NCW) called on Egypt's Ministry of Interior and security officials in Egypt's northwestern governorate of Matrouh, Saturday, to take the required action to find Sara Abdel-Malik, a 13-year-old girl who was reportedly kidnapped in September.
Abdel-Malik's father had filed a complaint to the the national body for women's issues, reporting that his teenage daughter was kidnapped after leaving school on 30 September.
According to the father, the girl was kidnapped by a young man who forcibly married her despite the fact that she is still a child.
In the Saturday statement published on their official website, the NCW expressed its complete rejection of child marriage, adding that it is forbidden under Egyptian law. The legal marital age in Egypt is currently 18 years old.
In May, a controversial law lowering the marriage age was put to the now-dissolved People's Assembly (lower house of parliament), sparking uproar among women's rights organisations. Similarly, human rights groups and political figures condemned recent calls by Islamist members of Egypt's Constituent Assembly to reduce the marital age for women to as young as nine years old in the draft constitution.
In addition Article 36 threatens equality between men and women by saying that the state shall ensure equality between men and women as long as it does not conflict with "the rulings of Islamic Sharia" and goes on to say that the state shall ensure that a woman will "reconcile between her duties toward the family and her work in society." This provision is inconsistent with the provision in the same chapter that prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex. Discrimination against women under Egyptian law, and in particular in family law, is a longstanding problem, but keeping the reference to "rulings of Sharia" in the new constitution would open the door to further regression in women's rights, Muslim Women are already discriminated against when it comes to matters of inheritance.
In a later interview Makhyoun said on the live TV program Al Ashira Masa2an that in keeping with the tradition of the prophet girls should marry as young as 9. Some Brotherhood members and all Salafi members of parliament are determined to amend Egypt's child law to lower the marriage age from 18 to 9. One of the frequently criticized forms of human trafficking in Egypt is that young girls from poor families have been trafficked to the Gulf for early marriage.
"It is particularly reprehensible that committee members should bow to pressure to exclude language criminalizing sexual harassment and trafficking of women and children when this is not only a serious crime under international law, and is clearly happening," Houry said.
In a further blow to women's rights due to the inaction by the Muslim Brotherhood to enact enforceable sexual harassment laws, an Egyptian movement has started to thwart sexual harassment during Eid Al-Adha. So far they have recorded 300 attempted attacks during the first two days of the Muslim holiday. The initiative, dubbed 'Catch the Harasser', began on the first day of Eid, with volunteers working across central Cairo in a bid to prevent lewd attacks on women. Sexual harassment of women is a prevelant problem on Egyptian streets. Many muslim men welcome the Eid El-Adha celebrations where large crowds make it easier for them to assault women and escape unpunished. A 2008 survey by the Egyptian Centre for Women Rights found that 83 per cent of local women and 98 per cent of foreign women had been subjected to harassment at least once.