In an effort to raise awareness about the widespread problem of sexual harassment (including in public places – street harassment) in Egypt, Egypt’s Ministry of Endowments has published a book on the topic that will be distributed at local mosques around the country, targeted at Imams. Menassat.com reports:
The book, titled ‘Sexual Harassment: Causes and Solutions,’ is co-written by Minister of Endowments Hamdi Zaqzouq and Salem Abdel Geleil, deputy minister of religious endowments….The book is to be distributed in mosques nationwide starting this week and reportedly discusses the definition of sexual harassment, motives behind it, and the occurrence of it in Egyptian society. But it apparently also brings up how some girls might be ‘asking for harassment’ by wearing revealing clothes or by their behavior, according to Daily News Egypt.”
Let’s hope the last sentence isn’t true…
I hope the books will help, but I also wonder if there will be anyone holding the Imams accountable for reading the book and paying attention to what it says and helping to end the problem in their communities?
Back in February I reported that members of Egypt’s parliament were expected to propose a law strengthening the penalties against sexual offenders (including street harassers) by increasing jail time and fines and put more pressure on police to stop incidents and take the concerns of the targets of such harassment more seriously. Menassat.com reports that women’s rights groups are still “lobbying before the Egyptian government to introduce a legislation that makes sexual harassment punishable under the law.” I hope they succeed!