Many Egyptians talk about religion, but do they really practice it?
Among all the nations of the world, Egyptians talk the most about religion and, at times, even exaggerate in performing its outward rituals. Still, if we approach faith from the perspective that it is “what is settled in your heart and reflected in your deeds”, we will notice that Egyptians are not the most pious people on the globe. Religious terminology is used excessively in Egyptians’ daily language, yet the majority do not follow the essence of religion. Instead, they run around it.
The more we see chaos, crime and corruption plaguing our society, the more we will realise how little Egyptians are committed to religious values. For example, concerning sexual harassment rates, Egypt is ranked third in the world. Actually, 97% of women here are exposed to these vile acts. What adds insult to injury is that this issue is not solely limited to harassment but also includes sexual abuse and rape.
First of all, women’s attire does not cause sexual harassment, as some have suggested. The problem lies in the corrupt morals disseminated in society and the vagrant absence of religious principles. If we observe, as we walk in the streets, how men feast their eyes on women’s bodies or if we follow the news concerning the rape and murder of children, we realise that this phenomenon is a wide-spread issue in our society. Rape is not solely committed by teens under the age of 18, but also by men who are married and have kids as well. Sadly, there are also examples of sexual abuse and rape between members of the same family.
The Gallup polling organisation recently published a survey about the most miserable countries in the world and we also ranked third after Iraq and Somalia. So, this is what we are now; a sad country? It is truly painful to remember the disgraceful crimes committed against our society, which were exacerbated by the general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. In fact, all of this goes to show the immense gap between their announced values and morals, and what was practiced on the ground.
Recalling everything that was once beautiful in their history, the Egyptian people were motivated to revolt against the Brotherhood’s rule. They united their efforts and were able to change the grim reality that faced them daily. After expelling them from ruling, Egyptians began to celebrate in a way that impressed the entire world. After Al-Sisi was elected, we kept our hopes high expecting to live the golden times of virtuous morality, and to once again bridge the gap between the proclaimed principles and the practiced ones on the ground. However, evil forces tried to ruin our joy and undermine our hopes to achieve progress. They masterminded these incidents of harassment and the violations against Egyptian women’s honour, especially during the celebrations.
Nowadays, the phenomenon of religious posters on cars, which was prevalent from the 1970s till the 90s, is emerging again. It was an indication of a deep rift in Egyptian society that divided us on a religious basis. That is why Egyptian society must call on the Ministry of Interior, in collaboration with the central traffic department, to immediately remove those posters in order to preserve the spirit of unity we enjoyed after 30 June revolution, and to prevent Egypt from being trapped in the quagmire of religious division once more.
Emad Gad is vice president of Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.