CAIRO (AP) — A group of Egyptian men had a mission for this year’s Eid al-Adha, Islam’s biggest holiday, which began Friday. They wanted to make some effort to stop sexual harassment of women, which in past years has spiked in Cairo during the holiday celebrations with the crowds of rowdy men in the streets.
Their idea was simple: to patrol downtown Cairo and shame men who harass women by cornering them and spray-painting “I’m a harasser” on their backs.
That proved pretty much impossible, however. The small group was outnumbered by boys and men who mocked them, some of them blaming women for bringing harassment by the way they dress.
Read more here.
Conversations with voters in Egypt’s second-largest city showed the constitutional referendum is about more than approving or rejecting the controversial document. A dispatch from Alexandria for Al-Monitor.
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt — In line at polling stations, on tram cars and minibuses, and at cafes and corner shops, residents of this Mediterranean city discussed the controversial constitution that went to a vote Saturday in 10 of Egypt’s 27 governorates. Heated debates showed the lack of consensus among voters on the charter. Strong opinions expressed by these voters also indicated the extent to which some view the constitutional referendum — and the broader struggle over Egypt’s identity — as a zero-sum game.
Read the rest here.
CAIRO (AP) — The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt has brought with it a new group of female politicians who say they are determined to bring more women into leadership roles — and at the same time want to consecrate a deeply conservative Islamic vision for women in Egypt.
Women’s rights have sprung to the forefront of the debate in Egypt as members of an Islamist-dominated assembly wrestle over the writing of a new constitution for the country. The power of Islamists, who dominated parliament elections last winter and who seized the presidency with the election this year of the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, has worried secular and liberal Egyptians who fear they will restrict rights of women and minorities.
The women of the Brotherhood say the fundamentalist group is doing more than any other political movement in Egypt to promote women in a political scene where men have always held a near total monopoly. Confident and articulate, the women say they are pushing for a greater voice within the Brotherhood itself and its political party, the Freedom and Justice Party, where the leadership is entirely male.
Read the full article here.
CAIRO (AP) — A suspected Israeli airstrike against a weapons factory in Khartoum last week points to a possible escalation in a hidden front of the rivalry between Israel and Iran: The arms pipeline through Sudan to Islamic militants on Israel’s borders.
Mystery still surrounds the blast, which killed four people. But analysts say the incident could indicate Iran is trying to send more advanced weapons via Sudan to Hamas in the Gaza Strip or Hezbollah in Lebanon — and that Israel has become more determined to stop it at a time of increased tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.
Consensus has built among Israeli and Arab military analysts that the explosion just after midnight last Wednesday at the Yarmouk factory was indeed an Israeli airstrike as Sudan has claimed. Israel says it neither confirms nor denies being behind it. Sudan, in turn, denied on Monday that Iran had any connection to the factory’s production.
In a show of support for the two countries’ alliance, two Iranian warships — a helicopter carrier and destroyer that had been conducting anti-piracy patrols off East Africa’s coast — docked this week at Sudan’s main Red Sea port. The Iranian commanders were holding talks with Sudanese officers as part of the countries’ “exchange of amicable relations,” Sudan’s military spokesman said.
Read more here. Photo via Satellite Sentinel Project.