Egyptian blogger calls on men to try the veil

Photo of a sympathiser published on the event’s Facebook page.
[UPDATE - November 17, 6 p.m. Paris time]
The photos published on the Facebook page “Resounding Cries” were not photos of Egyptian men. They were in fact photos of Iranian men who took part in a 2009 campaign to denounce the arrest of an Iranian student, Majid Tavakoli, who was accused by the Iranian regime of dressing up like a woman to elude the police. At the time, we published a story on this campaign.
An Iranian journalist, Negar Mortavazi, alerted us to the true origin of these photos.
FRANCE 24 has tried to join Aliaa El Madhy, the Egyptian blogger who made the call for Egyptian men to take photos of themselves wearing veils. The Facebook page on which the photos were posted has been deleted. For the time being, we do not know whether she posted these photos herself, or whether Internet users posted these photos to her Facebook page.
An Egyptian student has created a Facebook page to launch an appeal to men: post photos of yourselves wearing the Islamic veil. This young woman believes it is unjust that a dress code is imposed only on women. It’s an amusing initiative but the message has not been well received by some.
Dozens of Egyptian men have already responded to the call since the initiative’s launch on November 1. Some internet users have even suggested transforming this project into a peaceful demonstration in Cairo’s famous Tahrir Square.
Photos published on Facebook.

"It’s a way of saying to men: ‘See how this feels!’ "

Aliaa El Mahdy is a university student and the administrator of the page "Resounding Cries."
For me, the veil is not a personal choice in Egypt, but the result of social and religious pressure. The girls I know who wear the veil do so because of their families or to avoid being hassled in the street. I don’t see why we should always dictate what women must wear and never what men must wear. Asking guys to put on the veil, if only for the time it takes to take the photo, is a way of saying to them ‘See how this feels!”
The other reason I launched this page is because society still considers women as sex objects. [83% of Egyptian women claim to have been victims of sexual harassment. Some women feel that the veil is a necessary form of protection against assault]. Many people, even on television, denounce the harassment of women in Egypt, but in my opinion this is not enough.
Obviously, I have been attacked and insulted because of this Facebook page. Some Internet users have responded to me by citing verses of the Koran. I realise that this is shocking for a conservative society like ours, but I am not going to change my ideas because of that.
Commenters posted insulting messages on the initiative's Facebook page. 

"Women who don’t wear the veil are not practising their religion correctly"

Mohamed Refaat Elymany is a writer who describes himself as an Islamist.
I condemn the wearing of the veil by men, even if it’s supposed to be humorous, because imitating women is strictly forbidden by our religion. Wearing the veil is a religious obligation. It is the duty of every Muslim woman. I work with women who don’t wear the veil, and that is their right, but I don’t think that they are practising their religion correctly.
It is incorrect to say that women only wear the veil because of social pressure. There are women who wear it because of their religious conviction. But it is true that the veil is also part of our culture. Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution stipulates that we defer to the principles of Islam. In a conservative, Muslim society I recognise that this pressure exists. In the countryside in particular, women who don’t wear the veil are looked down upon. But this is, in my opinion, the result of a lack of education. In addition, one must point out that wearing the veil does not make a woman safe from harassment in Egypt. There is a real moral crisis in our society at the moment.


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Men in veils

The majority of religions were created by men, for men. If it were not for women giving birth, men would not exist. Remember to thank your mother for your existence. Treat women with respect, do not degrade them by attempting to make them wear the veil, by denying women the priesthood, and all the other man-made restrictions placed on women. We are equal and I know that scares the ultra-religious.


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Funny, because she is one of

Funny, because she is one of the contributors.



It is my humble understanding

It is my humble understanding that the Holy Quran says that both men and women should dress modestly. What is considered modest then becomes a cultural not a religous convention.

modest dress

I am a later day saint and have never read the Holy Coran but my church teaches modest dress to boys and girls. I think the men who posted their picture wearing the veil are probably forward thinking men and applaud them for supporting the effort even in a small way.

men to try veil

I applaud Ms El Mahdy in this initiative. A similar story:

In the 1990's I lived and worked in Afghanistan. As an experiment, I asked Afghan male staff colleagues to put on a chador (the full body cover, with small net grill over eyes for vision)--and walk around in the streets of the city for a couple hours.

Their comments as a result of this experience were (to me, not surprisingly) universal:
--They had never realized how very dangerous it was to try and navigate in that way:
1.They lost all peripheral vision (and most direct vision)
2.They lost most of their abilities to hear activity around them

Due to both, they had a serious risk of being hit by cars, bikes, carts. They also never had any warning if other individuals were approaching them (perhaps with bad intent). Nor animals such as dogs or snakes, who could bite.
3.They almost perished from heat prostration (I purposely timed exercise for hot season, temperatures close to 50 during the day). It is amazing how many women keel over in the street during hot season for this reason alone.

All three serious risks to health to the women, whom the men claimed previously the veil was to "protect".

The female colleagues were thrilled with their male colleagues observations.

To BCN observer

So the men all had a big laugh and the women "were thrilled with their male colleagues observations", but has it brought any changes?

The Veil : religious or social issu?

I have grown up in various countries in the Middle East and have come to the conclusion that Islam has a problem, and that problem is the society. Yes ladies and gentleman, society has "veiled" the truth of Islam!
For centuries, this beautiful religion has been interpreted but mostly misinterpreted. Let me give you a clear and simple example of how society twists religion up : Saudi women can't drive "because it's forbidden by the religion". ERROR! Any given religion has a very intellectual basis, so what's the good-enough reason to forbid women from driving? Adding to this, I think the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia is the only country which has such a law.
Now, back to our main focus, the veil; we can't say that it's a religious obligation, but a cultural obligation. Even Christian and Jewish women have worn (and are still wearing) the veil, but that's something we have inherited from the past. Society has evolved exponentially fast over the last hundred years. Yet in the Arab world, society has stayed behind and is going back in time.

Of course many Muslim women do wear the veil for religious conviction, but I need an explanation for why a 5 or 6-year-old girl is veiled as such an age. Nobody can talk about religious conviction ate the age one 6, give me a break!
I firmly believe poverty and a real lack of education is what keeps society's weigh over religion.