Egyptian lawmaker’s call for virginity tests draws fire

Egyptian lawmaker's call for virginity tests draws fire. an Egyptian activist shouts anti-military Supreme Council slogans during a demonstration in front of Cairo’s high court. — AP
Egyptian lawmaker’s call for virginity tests draws fire. an Egyptian activist shouts anti-military Supreme Council slogans during a demonstration in front of Cairo’s high court. — AP
A women’s rights group has filed a legal complaint against an Egyptian lawmaker who called for mandatory virginity tests for women seeking university admission, the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported Sunday.

It quoted Maya Morsi, head of the state-sanctioned National Council for Women, as saying the complaint demands the expulsion from parliament of Ilhami Agena and a criminal investigation into his actions. She said the lawmaker was harming the reputation of Egyptian women, men and the country itself.

Agena said in an interview last week that virginity tests were needed to combat the proliferation of informal marriages, known as “gawaz orfy,” between students. Virtually expense free, such marriages have become more popular in recent years because of high youth unemployment and a shortage of affordable housing.

The gawaz orfy is widely viewed as a religiously sanctioned way of having premarital sex, a taboo in mostly conservative and majority Muslim Egypt. Muslim clerics have spoken out against such marriages.

In Egypt, as in other conservative, Muslim countries, a young woman’s virginity is widely seen as a matter of family honor, the loss of which could prevent her from getting married.

The military was alleged to have conducted virginity tests on 19 women arrested after troops violently broke up a protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in March 2011, shortly after longtime President Hosni Mubarak resigned in the face of a popular uprising.

Three months later, Amnesty International said that Egypt’s then-military rulers acknowledged carrying out the tests as a way to protect the army from possible rape allegations. The military pledged not to conduct the tests again, according to the London-based rights group.

Agena’s comments about women have sparked controversy in the past, including claims that some female lawmakers were not dressing modestly enough.

He sparked an uproar last month by saying that the practice of female genital mutilation, or FGM, was needed to curb women’s sexuality and counterbalance allegedly widespread male impotence in Egypt. He claimed that 64 percent of Egyptian men suffer from impotence, citing increased sales of Viagra.

“If women are not circumcised, they will become sexually strong and there will be a problem,” an imbalance leading to divorce, he added.

His comments about FGM followed the adoption by the Egyptian parliament of tougher penalties for the practice, allowing for a maximum of 15 years in prison for offenders if a child dies and up to seven years for performing the procedure.

The centuries-old practice, misguidedly believed to reduce a woman’s libido, was criminalized in Egypt in 2008. However, it remains widespread and an estimated 90 percent of Egyptian women have undergone some form of the forced procedure.

© 2016 The Associated Press.

  • Oh Yeah

    Muslims in the EU dont understand that a matter of family honor can’t end with murder done in order to save the so called family honor, and this happens frequently among Muslims living in our society.

    I wasn’t surprised reading that in Egypt, as in other conservative, Muslim countries, a young woman’s virginity is widely seen as a matter of family honor, the loss of which could prevent her from getting married, or even worse being murdered by her own family member.

    It seems that egyptian women preferring our perspective when it comes to women’s own body.
    After the egyptian MP called for college virginity tests, the Egypt’s women’s council decides to file complaint against MP who called for college virginity tests.
    Egypt’s National Council for Women will file a report with the state’s top attorney against a parliamentarian over his “offensive remarks against women in Egypt and abroad,” Dina Hussien a member of the council said on Saturday.

    Earlier this year, the MP also said that female MPs should modest wear clothing inside parliament.

    In the latest of his controversial proposals, Ilhami Agina said that any woman applying to university should be subject to a virginity test
    “Any girl who wishes to join university must undergo this test on a regular basis to prove that she is still a virgin,” Agina said. “She also must submit a document that she is still a virgin in order to be officially admitted to the university.”

    Agina has said previously that his statements about public issues in Egypt should be viewed as reflecting his right to practice freedom of speech……
    Ilhami Agina in his own words:
    Egyptian Men Suffer from Impotence, Can’t Satisfy Sexual Urges of Uncircumcised Women</b/

    https://youtu.be/yTnR391Ls2E

  • 5thDrawer

    After discussions with ‘gay’ folks I know, it has been recognized that Viagra usage increase was due to ‘the boys’ wanting to keep it up at ‘club meetings’ (often in bathhouses) .. duration being the operative word.
    I imagine it’s the same in Egypt. Hope everyone gets educated some day.
    Of COURSE this was not a good idea without condoms, when initially the medical community did NOT explain the ‘new’ virus HPV being spread, and the loss of resistance to the many other diseases that actually allowed HPV to kill, when fully developed as ‘Aids’.
    Blaming the female for the male brain is an ancient favourite … as is the ‘tribal culture’ of cutting off what one desires .. ‘out of sight, out of mind’ thinking … which is basically against nature.
    And really, a “sexually strong” woman can be a lifetime delight … right? 😉 Admit it, you chicken-shit males who can’t match the smarts of the female and only fear them.