Egyptian girls punished for not veiling

2012-10-18 09:02

Luxor - A teacher in southern Egypt punished two 12-year-old schoolgirls for not wearing the Muslim headscarf by cutting their hair, the father of one girl said Wednesday, in an incident that stokes concerns over personal rights following the rise of Islamist political movements.

The governor of Luxor province where the incident occurred called the teacher's actions "shameful" and said she had been transferred to another school.

But rights groups say that some Islamic conservatives have been emboldened by the success of groups like Muslim Brotherhood and the ultraconservative Salafi trend in parliamentary and presidential elections and have been increasingly brazen about forcing their standards on other Egyptians.

The incident follows a surge in legal cases against Egyptians, mostly Christians, who allegedly showed contempt for religion. The trial of one, Alber Saber, opened Wednesday but was postponed.

It also comes amid a fierce debate over how the role of religion will be defined in the country's new constitution. The preponderance of Islamists on the panel drafting the document has alarmed liberals and religious minorities.

In the village of Qurna in Luxor province, 500km south of Cairo, Berbesh Khairi El-Rawi said the teacher forced the two girls to stand with their hands above their heads for two hours and then cut their hair in their school.

El-Rawi, the father of one of the two girls, told The Associated Press that he filed a complaint after the 10 October incident with the prosecutor's office in Luxor. He had no further comment.

The prosecutor's office declined to comment on the case. Provincial governor Ezzat Saad confirmed the teacher had been transferred for a "shameful" act but did not otherwise comment.

Repeated warnings

The teacher, Eman Abu Bakar, could not be reached. She told the Egyptian semi-official newspaper al-Ahram that the amount of hair she cut off of the girls' heads "did not exceed 2cm".

Abu Bakar was quoted as saying she only resorted to cutting her students' hair after warning them repeatedly to cover their heads. After these repeated warnings, a student handed her a scissors from his bag, and that he and other students asked her to "implement" her threats.

In a photo published by Al-Ahram, Abu Bakar is shown wearing the niqab, a garment that covers everything but a woman's eyes.

Most Muslim women in Egypt wear the headscarf, but increasing numbers now wear the more conservative niqab.

Ziad Abdel Tawab of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights said the incident was alarming but not surprising.

"Whether in schools or outside schools, the general sentiment is that any abusive action, if it is justified as protection of Islam, is tolerable," he said.

  • erich.goosen - 2012-10-18 09:16

    Gift of the Givers, what about providing these poor girls with wigs?

  • mattcredible - 2012-10-18 09:26

    "handed her a scissors from his bag" A PAIR, dammit! A PAIR of scissors! News24, are your writers just exceptionally bad, or are your editors on the tipping end of the retard scale? Your site constantly has TERRIBLE grammatical errors, which people are always pointing out to you. Now, I am not a grammar Nazi by any means and often ignore these things, but next it will be, "The truckers threw him with a stone." And other, CRAP grammar mistakes. "South Africa's Premier News Site" my ASS! Compared to other sites nationally and internationally, your standards are pretty crap.

      mattcredible - 2012-10-18 09:27

      And don't come at me with the,"This is how it came from Associated Press." Check your stuff before you publish it on your CMS.

  • Iqhawe_eliqotho - 2012-10-18 10:17

    Un-necessary and extremist. This forceful implementation of humble principles is a disgrace to Islamic teaching. The greatest of encouragements is for there to be no compulsion in religion.

      Raymon McNelly - 2013-07-23 13:11

      Then you should stay far, far away from Islam.

  • tafkad.tafkad - 2012-10-18 10:48

    I really can't fathom why the muslims are so hell-bent on enforcing their religion on people.

      MagdaKus - 2012-10-18 13:25

      I think humans in general are hell-bent on enforcing their views on others who don't share them... Tolerance... what's that?

  • abdul.m.gabier - 2012-10-18 11:34

    this is being taken out of context. The scarf is part of their uniform. This is not a human rights issue, its just kids not wanting to listen to a teacher and it got out of hand. its not any different to what happens in RSA when kids don't wear their inform correctly. Imagine if a boy refused to tuck in his shirt and then dared to teacher to 'make him'!

      tafkad.tafkad - 2012-10-18 11:46

      it's very different from what happens in RSA, teachers aren't allowed to touch learners let alone cut their hair - it's barbaric, why should one human be allowed to touch another human without consent?

      sean.murphy.165 - 2012-10-18 11:47

      It is not being taken out of context Abdul. The scarf is part of the uniform for religion reasons, therefore the children are having religion forced onto them against their will. They are right to reject this and resist it. It is known as standing up for your rights. They were merely resisting religios opression. Whats next if they do not listen now after having their hair cut. Send the Taliban to the school and shoot them in the head.

      siphom.mnguni - 2012-10-18 15:03

      @abdul.m.gabier:) try another trick because this one is ridiculous to say the least, if not ludicrous. \this being taken out of context..\ how many times have I read such garbage? I guess I couldn't count. Would you mind explaining why the governor is quoted as calling the teacher's actions \shameful\. Of course not. I love it when you compare with a South African child refusing to wear a uniform or refused to tuck in. Creative mind, very fertile imagination. You can teach a Minister of Education a thing or two about delivery of textbooks on time. \this is not a human rights issue. Really? For a religion which does not tolerate a slight criticism. They will burn, create mayhem for a drawing which depicts a profet not even a real picture. Come, don't insult our intelligence here.

  • john.p.steyn - 2012-10-18 12:29

    Islamic countries seem so terrible to live in, so backward and oppressive.

  • LanfearM - 2012-10-18 13:53

    OH FFS! I am so sick and tired of these fundamentalist lunatics! I have come to the final conclusion that religious fundies, especially Islamists, are truly frightened of women. There can be no other explanation for their severe oppression of women's freedom of choice(s). The worst part of all this is, that neither the qur'an nor the hadiths require women to wear a face veil.

  • jody.beggs - 2012-10-18 14:27

    Ban Religion , Damn the man.

      Raymon McNelly - 2013-07-23 13:12

      same-old same-old ..

  • moi.carla.1980 - 2012-10-19 08:51

    So sad. Egypt seems to have gone from one extreme to another.

      Raymon McNelly - 2013-07-23 13:14

      No, not really... Egypt went from being 'Okay' to being a disaster .. same as Libya and Syria. Wherever the 'Brotherhood/Islam' crawls in, death and terror soon follows

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