A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, February 8, 2013

As Women Fight Back in Tahrir, TV Sheikh Explains they are "Crusaders" with "Fuzzy Hair" Who "Want to Be Raped."

Now, there have been some "crazy sheikh/crazy fatwa" stories where I've debunked or at least questioned the story, but every so often a real Salafi says something so incredibly offensive and ourageous that to call him a Neanderthal would be a slur on homo neanderthalensis. This is one of those times.

Salafi preacher Ahmad Mahmud Abdullah, known as "Sheikh Abu Islam," has his own "Umma" TV station in Egypt. On Wednesday he explained what's really going on with the resistance to sexual assault in Tahrir (see my recent post on the subject):
They tell you women are a red line. They tell you that naked women -- who are going to Tahrir Square because they want to be raped -- are a red line! And they ask Mursi and the Brotherhood to leave power! ... And by the way, 90 percent of them are crusaders and the remaining 10 percent are widows who have no one to control them. You see women talking like monsters ... You see a woman with this fuzzy hair! A devil! Devils called women. Learn from Muslim women, learn and be Muslims. (text from Al-Arabiya English)
Well,thank you for clearing that up. As a husband and the father of a daughter, my first reaction is that this man is a shame and scandal to a great religion. (That is not entirely true. My first reaction is that he is an asshole, but I'm not sure I can say "asshole" here, or the obvious adjective that goes with it.*[See note below.] My second (or really third) reaction is to wonder if Egyptian law allows one to charge a man who has just given religious sanction to rape, on television.

Al-Arabiya has a video with an English translation which is at the link above; this YouTube is of the Al-Arabiya video though apparently posted by an Islam-bashing site (I can't find an embed function at the original), but I post it because this has nothing to do with Islam.

Fuzzy hair? Huh? And they're going naked to Tahrir Square? Why is the mainstream media hiding the pictures of the fuzzy-haired naked women Crusaders? And he calls the women "monsters"? I pity his wife (wives?) and daughters. This man has a TV station and all I have is a blog?

*I can, however, with a suitable language warning (as I've done from time to time), quote a third party, in this case a tweet from Egyptian-American commentator Mona ElTahawy, who gives him his due:
 Yeah. That's about right.In fact, there's a certain eloquence to "fucking misogynist shit" that I probably wouldn't have used in my own voice.

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