Egyptian TV Host Removes Hijab, Berates Cleric Who Peddles Her Religion

(Photo via MEMRI-TV)

Egyptian women have been slowly losing what few rights they had as Islamists cement their rule in the country, but in a recent interview, one female television host wasn’t having any of it. 

The Middle East Media Research Institute compiled the most explosive and telling scenes from the Al-Nahar TV interview between the host Riham Said and the cleric Yousuf Badri.  The clip actually begins before the interview, with the two informally chatting about how the woman will have to cover her hair to interview him. 

“Outside this studio, in your daily life, you deal all the time with Muslim women who do not wear the veil,” she says with a smile, the two looking directly at one another.  “You have no problem talking to me without the hijab, and then, when the viewers can see, you make we wear it?”

“Let’s just start the show,” he says. 

The clip then skips to a segment on sexual harassment by clerics, which the man has no interest in acknowledging or discussing. 

“This is a provocation,” he says in a far harsher tone than before the show.  “Change the subject. Talk about things that interest people, about public affairs.”

“From the moment you sat down, you’ve been shouting at me and mocking me, even though we paid you 1,000 Egyptian pounds to come here,” the host retorts, removing her headscarf.  “You didn’t come to answer questions. You came to pick a fight…What kind of cleric demands 1,000 pounds?”

The cleric grows increasingly agitated as Said speaks, now refusing to look at her and repeatedly demanding: “Change the subject!”

He eventually threatens: “Change the subject and put on that hijab!…I will shut your channel down!” 

Badri continues to yell at the woman when she stands up and says she’ll be the one setting the terms.  

She tells the audience: “This is the kind of person who sues TV channels, attacks the media, and puts on a show for the viewers.  It is very unfortunate that people like this peddle our religion.  I’m the one leaving, not you.”

Watch the fiery interview courtesy of MEMRI-TV, below: