Al-Azhar has released Statement 2 with Victim Blaming Mode.
Al-Azhar for Electronic Fatwa, a center that operates under the auspices of Al-Azhar to communicate “true Islam” online, has released a statement on sexual harassment. The statement came after a workshop held by the centre for religious clerics and members of the Azhar institutions on Tuesday to discuss the phenomenon and how to combat it. This statement, however, came to contradict what was originally stated by Al-Azhar on social media last Monday.
The Monday statement was hailed by many for its seemingly progressive language with regards to women’s position in the discussion on sexual harassment. The statement had declared that women are unconditionally absolved from blame for being sexually harassed, and that this form of violence against them is unjustifiable.
The second statement contained six clauses that explained the institution’s rendition of the reasons for harassment and had a rather sexist overtone, and implied that sexual harassment was justifiable and victim blaming, conditional.
Two of these clauses implied (or rather directed) that women are to blame. One clause exclaimed that “watching sexually provocative women on television and the internet” is one of the reasons for the rampant sexual harassment in Egypt. Another added that “the mixing of genders as well as tabarruj (women not wearing the veil in some interpretations, flaunting their sexuality or putting on makeup in others)” is a reason, albeit “the sexual harasser does not differentiate between a modest woman and a flaunting woman,” but “flaunting has called for this phenomenon to exist.”
Another clause in the statement’s offer to propose methods to combat the phenomenon called for teaching young men about values such as looking the other way, being strong-willed and a gentleman, while teaching young women about values like chastity, covering up, and self-security.
This contradiction is telling of the fragmentation of opinion within Al-Azhar with regards to their collective ideological stance on sexual harassment.
Ahmed El-Tayeb Image from Pars Today