New mosque awareness campaign to confront ‘Violence Against Women’
Minister of Religious Endowment Mokhtar Gomaa - YOUM7/Sami Waheeb
By NOURHAN MAGDI

CAIRO: The Ministry of Endowment has announced the launch of an awareness campaign at mosques called “Violence Against Women,” to preach against improper contemporary practices regarding women, according to a Thursday statement by the ministry.

The campaign aims to discourage acts like wealth deprivation, forced marriage and sexual harassment.

Ministry Undersecretary Sabri Ebada told the “Haza el-Sabah” (This Morning) television show on CBC Extra Friday that there are “some mistaken tribal habits regarding women occurring now,” which contribute to creating a macho society.

“The hard-line Islamists portray women as having no value other than [serving] men’s physical and sexual comfort,” said Ebada, “and this is far away from Islamic law that enhanced the value of women in society.”

A controversial fatwa by Muslim Brotherhood leader Safwat Hegazy in 2006 brought him under scrutiny for allegedly insulting women who do not wear niqab, which is a full face cover for Muslim women. The case was then dropped.

Hegazy is now standing trial in different cases related to inciting violence and torturing police officers during the MB’s sit-in at Rabaa al-Adaweya.

Hard line preachers were believed to have had the chance to preach more radical ideas in mosques under former President Mohamed Morsi’s reign. During this time, they violently criticized actors, singers and issued more disputable fatwas regarding women.

Ebada also said part of the problem is created by the West, which he said “confines the freedom of women to the freedom of clothing,” and exports images of women in improper and revealing clothes to the Middle East.

Furthermore, Ebada talked about some preachers at mosques who preach incorrect beliefs about women. “Now there are laws restricting any preaching violations,” he said.

He also referred to preacher laws issued recently to limit Friday sermon delivery to appointed preachers who have permits, adding, “The word is capable of wiping out an entire nation.”

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