Egyptian women protest against the military council violations and virginity tests on women, outside the State Council court in Cairo on December 27, 2011. (AP File Photo)
After the revolution that ousted former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, the country's youth were supposedly going to usher in a new era of freedom and democracy. The media labeled the wave of destabilized governments in the Middle East the "Arab Spring," certain that they were on the right track.
Maybe they are. But if the last year has been any indication, democracy looks very different for Egyptians than it does for most Americans. Islamists overwhelmingly control the government, and with the election of longtime Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi, the country's Christians and more secular-minded individuals seem to be targeted more and more often.
Most recently, the Egypt Independent reports that a group of female vigilantes attacked a woman for not wearing a veil, restraining her to cut her hair before pushing her off a train.
The Egypt Independent has more:
Two niqab-wearing women assaulted and forcefully cut the hair of a Christian woman on the metro Sunday, the third such reported incident in two months, raising fears of a growing vigilante movement to punish Egyptian women for not wearing the veil in public.
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said in a statement that the assaulters called the Christian woman, who is 28 years old, an “infidel" and pushed her off the train, breaking her arm.
Last week, a woman wearing the niqab cut the hair of a 13-year-old Christian girl, Maggie Milad Fayez, in the metro. That same week, an Egyptian court gave a female teacher in Luxor with a six-month suspended prison sentence for cutting the hair of two 12-year-old girls after they refused to cover their heads. [Emphasis added]
Many are asking the government to take a firmer stance against such attacks before they become "the norm," but have been disappointed by the government's response.
If anything, the Egyptian government is rapidly approaching Shariah Law. Less than two weeks ago the Muslim Brotherhood made that clear, explicitly stating that while they don't intend to transform Egypt into a theocracy, Islamic law must be the basis of the new constitution.
- Egyptian Constitution Promises Equal Rights for Women — So Long As It Doesn’t ‘Conflict With the Rulings of Islamic Shariah’
- Why Are Islamists Blocking Child Sex Trafficking Laws FromEgypt’s New Constitution?
- Egyptian President: U.S. Must Respect Arab History and Culture, Even if It Conflicts With Western Values