Thursday, December 20, 2007

Egyptian actress opens café for women off-limits to unveiled and Christian females

"An Egyptian veiled actress has stirred waves of anger, especially among Egyptian Copts, after opening a posh café for women that is off-limits to unveiled and Christian females.

"Several Egyptian Internet forums and chat rooms have launched a campaign against the actress Hanan Turk, accusing her of damaging the country’s national unity and supporting claims of maltreatment to the Christian minority, according to Kuwaiti daily al-Nihar Tuesday December 18. Some blogs are calling for stand-in protests in front of the 'Girls’ Café' located at the Helioples neighborhood, east of the Egyptian Capital. Anti-hijab websites and blogs also took the chance to assert their claim 'the so-called Islamic dress code for women is a sort of business'.

"One of the blogs accused Turk outright of stirring a sectarian strife and emphasizing the gap among the poor and rich in the biggest Arab country, in a reference to the skyrocketing prices of the clothes and accessories of veiled women. Turk has campaigned for her café with an e-mail sent out to mail groups in Egypt, a copy of which was received by an Egyptian journalist with the daily Rozalyoussef. The e-mail goes: “Now there is a café where Muslim girls and women can go out to. Girls’ Café is a beautiful place where you can find food, drinks but no music or movies. It is not allowed for women without hijab to come in, so it is a safe place for 'munaqqabat' (Arabic word for completely covered women). In Girls Café, you have a chance to meet Hanan Turk! Please, do not bring Christian girls along as they are not allowed!' [...]".

Source: Al Arabiya (Saudi-owned, Dubai-based), December 18, 2007