Leftist Israeli Antics Imperil Egyptian Secularists

Frank Crimi is a San Diego-based writer and author of the book Raining Frogs and Heart Attacks. You can read more of Frank's work at his blog,www.politicallyunbalanced.com.


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As if on cue, Egypt’s Islamists and Salafists have quickly pointed to Elmahdy’s photos as a concrete example of the detrimental effect liberal secularist beliefs will have on Egyptian morality, an argument that has garnered widespread support in a country where nearly 70% of Egyptians believe the country’s laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Koran.

To be fair, the Islamists have clearly etched their vision of proper Egyptian feminine behavior long before Elmahdy gained notoriety. In April Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyya, one of Egypt’s leading Islamic groups, called for the establishment of a Saudi-style modesty police to combat “immoral” behavior in public areas.

In November Hazem Saleh Abu Ismail, a leading Egyptian presidential candidate and Muslim cleric, said he supported “Islamic dress” for women, and when asked what would happen to a woman wearing a bikini on the beach, he responded, “She would be arrested.”

So, given the political pummeling the secularists were absorbing, it wasn’t too surprising that many Egyptian liberals have tried to distance themselves from Elmahdy, quickly pointing out that she was not part of the revolutionary activities in Tahrir Square that saw the downfall of the Mubarak regime.

For her part, Elmahdy wasn’t entirely happy about being thrown under the bus, posting on her website: “Where is the democracy and liberalism they preach to the world? They only feed what the public wants to hear for their political ambitions.”

Of course, Elmahdy has her fair share of defenders. Nawal Al-Saadawi, a leading Egyptian feminist has said, “Women in any society are the key to the future, so when they are seen as objects the whole society loses. This isn’t the Egyptian way…The success of women can be seen in any revolution. You can’t have a revolution without women.”

Unfortunately, that theory hasn’t gained traction in Egypt where the post-Mubarak revolution has been moving forward with a limited role being played by Egyptian women, evidenced by the fact that no women were included on the committee that drafted Egypt’s transitional constitutional declaration.

Moreover, new elections laws have done away with the Mubarak-era quotas, which allocated 64 seats in Egypt’s parliament for women. While new law requires political parties to field at least some female candidates, some women have complained that their parties are placing them on difficult-to-win election lists.

Of course, it should be noted that life for Egyptian women under Mubarak was quite oppressive in its own right. For example, women could not marry men of other faiths; leave the country without the permission of their husbands; divorce with the approval of their husbands; or pray in the main halls of mosques alongside men.

However, those abuses, which occurred under a secular regime, promise to grow only worse with the advent of Islamists and Salafists to power. In fact, early signs of their oppressive agenda have been on display in their own election campaigns.

Most notably, some Islamist parties have shown their contempt for women by simply airbrushing them out of the way. In one case, an Islamist party substituted the face of a female candidate for that of her husband. In another case, the Salafist al-Nour Party had campaign posters that showed photographs of seven bearded candidates on its list for one district, but replaced the image of its lone female candidate with a picture of a rose, explaining that since she wears a veil there was no point in showing her picture.

For Aliaa Elmahdy and Or Tepler, albeit for far differing reasons, it remains to be seen if there was any point in showing their pictures as well.

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  • Amused

    The recent tactics of the Egyptian Military , already has done far more to encourage an islamic state , than any amount of nude women .
    But we ALL know that nude women are all " Leftists " eh Frank ?

  • Amused

    …and if you have any doubts Frank , just look at your own website's sidebar to the right -"Muslim Persecution of Christian ", which has been going on for decades , with or without Mubarak , with or without Arab Spring , and yes , with or without nude women .
    FPM's Specialty – Strawman Arguments ….some more meaningless and ludicrous than others .

  • esperantominoria

    Yes the Muslim Brotherhood WILL WIN,who can doubt it.And all because of a book,the KORAN.I am in FAVOR of the action by the Israeli women,but even better is if they can CONVINCE Muslims ISLAM is FALSE with INTELLECTUAL ARGUMENTS.

    Guys,did you know ALLAH in the KORAN TRICKS his own MUSLIM FOLLOWERS during a BATTLE?Why do TRICKERY on your OWN FOLLOWERS?
    http://www.antisharia.com/2011/03/08/doubts-about

    ALSO

    In the Koran,in one astonishing verse,ALLAH says he is NOT ALL-KNOWING:
    http://www.antisharia.com/2010/04/26/allah-in-the

    • Ageofreason

      Why not try posting your missive without the CAPITALIZATIONS? It's uneccessary, annoying, and we really CAN understand what YOU ARE trying to EXPRESS! Most of us ARE reasonably intelligent AND will GET the message.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Elmahdy’s apparent sense of humor, however, may be lost on those Egyptians currently embroiled in the midst of a cultural, religious and political war between those who envision a liberal, secular state and those who advocate an Islamist one.

    This is very important: A liberal, secular state long term is an impossibility. However, a secular state that isn't liberal is a possibility, on the other hand, but only if it willing to forcibly suppress Islam and willing to kill millions of Muslims wholesale. Otherwise, it will inevitably fail and be destroyed.

    After all, Tunisia, which like Egypt has a large secular elite, just witnessed in October the Islamist Ennahda Party win more than 40% of the vote in that nation’s first parliamentary election, making it the dominant political power in Tunisia’s nascent democracy.

    Uhm…elections hardly constitutes a democracy. Hence, I wouldn't go so for as to call Tunisia a Democratic country. In the long run it will most notably be an Islamic state, as Western-style democracy with the freedom and liberties it embodies is impossible in the Islamic world exactly because those same freedom and liberties leave the door wide open for its inevitable and eventual demise.

    As one Egyptian secularist said, “Egyptian liberals will now be seen as pro-nudity,” while another complained that Elmahdy had “done nothing but allow the conservatives to have one more reason to call for an Islamic state.”

    Actually, those are lame excuses and it doesn't really matter, as in the long run secularists don't have a prayer in hell of ever succeeding. In fact, they are playing a zero sum game that may or may not end up with their deaths, if they refuse to repent and submit to the will of Allah again. Indeed, if they were smart they would flee Egypt ASAP to escape the impending famine that will inevitably devastate Egypt in the not too distant future.

    Indeed, those in our State Department that helped foment the overthrow of Mubarak ought to be forced out of government ASAP and banned from ever being employed in government for the rest of their self-hating miserable lives, which would constitute probably 99 percent of the State Department. Good riddance!

    • Herman Caintonette

      OYM: "Uhm…elections hardly constitutes a democracy."

      Uhm, that indictment reaches our shores, as well. To call ours a functional democratic Republic is to ignore reality. Most congressional districts are so heavily gerrymandered that few have ever had a real say as to who their Congressman is. 94% of the seats go to who has the most money, and retention rates are historically higher here than they were in the old Soviet Politburo. If you don't live in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, you can forget about having an impact on who will be the Republican presidential nominee.

      This is, fwiw, a central OWS grievance.

      • ObamaYoMoma

        Uhm, that indictment reaches our shores, as well. To call ours a functional democratic Republic is to ignore reality. Most congressional districts are so heavily gerrymandered that few have ever had a real say as to who their Congressman is. 94% of the seats go to who has the most money, and retention rates are historically higher here than they were in the old Soviet Politburo. If you don't live in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, you can forget about having an impact on who will be the Republican presidential nominee.

        Actually, you are wrong. As much as you hate America, prior to the 9/11 jihad attacks, it was still the freest country in the world, and today despite the 9/11 jihad attacks and four years of BHO, it is still one of the freest countries in the world, although not nearly as free thanks to either incompetent or corrupt politicians.

        When the USA becomes totalitarian exactly like all Islamic countries, then we could say that you are right, but until we reach that point, we will just have to simply point out that you are an incredibly self-hating loon and a humongous mentally deficient moonbat.

        This is, fwiw, a central OWS grievance.

        Let me ask you a personal question…are you currently posting from a tent and publicly defecating on the hood of police cars? Considering the insanity of your posts, I wouldn't be surprised in the least.

  • tanstaafl

    Like canaries who won't leave the cage after the door is opened…

  • Yeshayahu Goldfeld

    To my knowledge Egypt does not have a secular elite.University lecturers , writers , lawyers and the educated class are as rabidly islamistic and opposed to the material
    and spiritual message of the West as the people in the fields and streets.

  • Irandissident

    Let's face the facts: The Western support for recent Islamist resurgence in North African countries (and soon in Syria), will bring Islamist governments to power and will increase the social dominance of fundamentalist Islam within these societies.
    In Iran it took three "cultural generations" or about 30 years, for an active minority of millions to totally challenge the islamist regime. In Arab and African societies, it might take four or five "cultural generations".
    Like it or not, this has been the West's agenda for Muslim dominated countries.
    However:
    Even that much progress against Islamism cannot be accomplished without active cultural confrontation by secularists and liberal (not moderate) Muslims.
    Cultural war must be waged all the time for decades, until eyes and ears get used to new and different things, sounds, sights and thoughts.
    In Arabic and Islamic history, there are many precedents of protest by NUDITY before and during Islam. From the story of Rabe-eh, daughter of Kaab to numerous nude dervishes and hijab discarding women ( same as nudity as far as they were concerned) to Homa Darabi, the Iranian woman who discarded her Hijab and set herself on firs and the Iranian Nudist protest in Berlin in front of visiting Islamic Republic delegations have all helped shape this method of protest in our history. The bigger protest in Iran has been happening for the last decade, by Iranian women in their millions, wearing such tiny, slippery and sexy hijab's that they are far more "sexually stimulating" than hijab-less women would be!
    Don't wait for a positive effect right now; it will happen in time.
    Now, let's all kneel and thank God on this Thanksgiving weekend, for the Obama administration and their 40 year agenda !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ronald W. Carnine

    Ladies, please put your clothes back on, please.