The young Egyptian blogger who set off a firestorm because of the nude photographs of herself that circulated on the Internet is now demanding that Muslim men should cover themselves with the hijab: the veil traditionally worn by devout Muslim women. Even while Egypt’s military has been accused of ruling the streets by stripping and sexually assaulting Egyptian female protesters on the streets of Cairo, Aliaa Magda al Mahdy appears to rule Arab social media in her largely Muslim country. She is also asking women to photograph themselves, without veils, and post the photos on the Internet.
The 20 year-old woman wrote on her blog “Send two photos, one with a veil and one without, and give your reasons why you are taking it off.” She asked the women who dare to take this step to also relate why they wear a veil and when they started wearing it. For those not brave enough to remove the veil, she ask that they tell the reasons why they do not dare to remove it.
Mahdy’s blog has received plenty of answers. Gamal Karam, an 18-year-old woman, said that her parents forced her to begin wearing a veil when she reached the age of 14. “When I said that I wanted to take it off, my father cut off my hair and beat me viciously. When I got the chance to leave home, I went to live with a male friend. I doffed the veil and now I am free. My parents say I am a whore and the people around them say the same thing.” Rahime Ozkam sent in her photograph, saying that her husband demanded that she wear it. She now lives in the United States and has eight children. She now encourages other women to stand up for their rights.
Another woman, Basma Lofty, expressed the hope that Egyptian society might change. While a transformation would not be easy, she admitted, but time will tell. She said that she was “reborn” on the day she took off her veil.
Mahdy studies at a university in Cairo and has blogged for the last three years on Islam’s mistreatment of women. In October 2011, she published nude photos of herself and a male companion. In some of the photos, Mahdy covered parts of her body with yellow rectangles, symbolizing censorship of knowledge, expression, and sexuality.” In November, she launched another initiative in which she asked men to photograph themselves wearing veils as a gesture of solidarity with women.
Info: Spero News