Thursday 25 May 2017

MP calls for 'virgin tests' on Egypt's girl students

A women's rights group has filed a legal complaint against Elhamy Agina after he said that virginity should be a prerequisite for study. Stock photo: Depositphotos
A women's rights group has filed a legal complaint against Elhamy Agina after he said that virginity should be a prerequisite for study. Stock photo: Depositphotos

Josie Ensor

An Egyptian MP is facing calls to step down after he suggested that women should face mandatory virginity tests before being admitted to university.

A women's rights group has filed a legal complaint against Elhamy Agina after he said that virginity should be a prerequisite for study.

He argued that it would help to end the practice of unregistered "customary" marriages, known as a "gawaz orfy", which appeal to Egyptian youths who cannot afford formal weddings.

It is widely viewed as a religiously sanctioned way of having premarital sex, which is taboo in mainly Muslim Egypt.

Mr Agina told the 'Youm 7' newspaper: "Any girl who enters university must be examined to prove she is a maiden. If you're upset then that means you're scared that your daughter is in an 'orfy' marriage behind your back."

Egypt's military was alleged to have conducted virginity tests on 19 women arrested at a protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square in 2011.

Maya Morsi, head of the state-sanctioned National Council for Women, called for a criminal investigation into the lawmaker.

Mona Eltahawy, a leading Egyptian feminist, tweeted that Mr Agina's "obsession with women's vaginas continues".

He has previously said he supported female genital mutilation, which is illegal but still widely practised.

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

Irish Independent

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