Egyptian lawyer says men have “patriotic duty” to rape women in ripped jeans

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Moya Crockett
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Prominent conservative Nabih al-Wahsh said that Egyptian men should consider the sexual harassment of women their “patriotic duty”.

A lawyer in Egypt has received international criticism after saying men have a “national duty” to rape women who wear revealing clothing, including ripped jeans.

Nabih al-Wahsh, a well-known conservative commentator in Egypt, appeared on a TV panel show to discuss a proposed new law on prostitution.

The Independent reports that al-Wahsh asked his fellow guests: “Are you happy when you see a girl walking down the street with half of her behind showing?

“I say that when a girl walks about like that, it is a patriotic duty to sexually harass her and a national duty to rape her.”

He added: “Girls must respect themselves so others respect them.

“Protecting morals is more important than protecting borders.”

His comments sparked outrage across Egypt. Dr Maya Morsi, the head of the country’s National Council for Women (NCW), described al-Wahsh’s remarks as a “flagrant call” for rape.

The NCW has since announced that it plans to file complaint against al-Wahsh and Al-Assema, the TV channel that broadcast the debate. It also called on Egyptian media outlets to stop booking guests who promote violence against women.

Cairo, the capital of Egypt, was recently voted the most dangerous megacity in the world for women.

This is not the first time that one of al-Wahsh’s television appearances has turned nasty. In October 2016, the lawyer became embroiled in a TV studio brawl with a liberal cleric.

Sheikh Rashed, al-Wahsh’s fellow guest on Egypt’s LTC television channel, said that he did not believe women should be forced to cover their hair with a headscarf – prompting the lawyer to remove his shoe and start hitting him with it. The two men fought before being separated by the television crew.

The Egyptian capital of Cairo was ranked as the most dangerous megacity for women overall in a recent UN poll, and the third most dangerous city for women in terms of sexual harassment and violence.

Earlier this year, it was also revealed that several prominent women’s rights activists in Egypt had been arrested or had their assets frozen by the government, in an apparent effort to clamp down on human rights groups.

Images: Al-Assema / iStock