The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) followed up with deep concern how a big number of Members to the Peoples Assembly from the ruling party, Muslim Brothers and independents dealt with the statement made by Farouq Hosny, Egyptian Minister of Culture, regarding Hijab (the veil) that Muslim women are wearing. The MPs’ reactions implied a scary oppressive tendency against freedom of opinion and expression, and an attempt to employ religion to serve as a tool in this context. This brings back the notion of the Inquisition Courts known in Europe in the Middle ages and the Islamic world in other times. It’s interesting to pinpoint how the parliamentarians addresses this issue with such an enthusiasm never witnessed before in more serious and significant issues; like the constitutional amendments, and the widespread corruption which destroyed the life of thousands of Egyptians in the different accidents; including but not limited to the Upper Egypt train, Beni Suef, Al-Salam 98 ferryboat, Damanhour train …etc. And last but not least, the collective systematic assault against the dignity of Egyptian women weeks ago- including veiled women, manifested in collective sexual harassments in the day of “black” Eid.
CIHRS emphasizes its absolute belief that embracing and expressing ideas are rights to every citizen. It strongly rejects the formation of Inquisition courts in people’s conscience; issuing decisions of holding people infidel, and intimidating those of different opinions, of whatsoever position, whatsoever opinion, religion, or nationality. CIHRS confirms, on the other hand, that the right of women to wear hijab (veil), or niqab (a bigger veil covering the entire face except for the eyes), or else is purely a personal matter and is based on personal religious, social and cultural convictions.
Finally, CIHRS requests from the parliament to open an in-depth and responsible dialogue on the happenings of the “black” Eid, and their significance; and conduct a critical discussion on the role of State bodies in protecting the citizens, be them men or women, from any violations that might touch his/her dignity; including physical violence against women, intellectual terrorist acts which pave the way and give a logical introduction to bloody terrorist acts. Egypt has experienced such acts represented in the assassination of the intellect Farag Foda, and the assassination attempt of the prominent Novelist, Naguib Mahfouz, as well as subjecting many intellects and writers to security guardianship until now.
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