Friday Prayers for Egypt: Sexual Harassment

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The problem is well known: Over 90 percent of Egyptian women complain of sexual harassment. The problem is well witnessed: Repeatedly at mass rallies in Tahrir women are sexually assaulted by groups of men.

Finally, perhaps, the problem is well addressed: The cabinet passed a law to criminalize such conduct and is undertaking plans to address the issue culturally.

The new administration of Sisi could hardly do otherwise. His inauguration celebration witnessed another incident, marring what he hoped would be a joyous occasion launching a fresh beginning.

Instead, the bickering blame game began. Some accused the Brotherhood, others the lax morality of a coup. In it all the suffering woman was not lost; Sisi brought her flowers.

But God, are suffering women lost? Is new legislation enough? And how long will it take to change a culture?

Protect women from violence, God. Protect them from words. Protect them from eyes. Protect their dignity in all public and private space.

Cultivate men. Refine their manners, God; increase their chivalry. Change their mentality. Discipline their passions. May they esteem each and every woman they encounter.

But plenty must change outside the individual as well, God. With whatever hope the revolution brought, it has broken down and is yet to build. And even before there was much that was crumbling.

Create a productive society that honors courage and beauty. Occupy idle hands; stimulate idle minds. But address this issue not through distraction, but through purity. Transform idle hearts.

Promote modesty, God, and pursue justice. Identify the criminals and redeem them. Convict the wayward thoughts of all, and have mercy.

May Egyptians be well loved, and well honored. Men and women together.


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