For a time, one could not open a newspaper or visit an online news site without finding yet another scandal about sexual harassment. Lawyers are presumably going to have a field day for years to come. In the UK, a further wave of accusations has shaken an already shaky parliament and the Government, whose Cabinet is increasingly in disarray. In the US Congress, Hollywood and elsewhere, similar claims are still being made, with #MeToo stories being shared by women, while there is an unknown number of accusations in US statehouses.
Sex scandals in the West are far from new. The irony is that this brings us face to face with attitudes to the same problem in the Islamic world.
For many years in the West, it was common practice for sexual harassment and rape among celebrities and public figures to be hushed up. To secure silence, abusers often used bribes or threats. Young women feared the loss of their careers or reputations; in many instances, the police would reject claims of abuse. This happened more than once in the UK, when young victims of “Asian” grooming gangs were not believed by social workers and police; in Europe authorities tried — and still try (see here, here and here) — to cover up harassment and rape committed by Muslim migrants. There will be a lot of work to do to protect women and children from the excesses of so many men.
Just watch and marvel at this short clip from a debate on Egypt’s al-Assema TV, aired on October 19, 2017, or read an English transcript. The Director-General of al-Assema is Brigadier-General Muhammad Samir, a former spokesman for the Egyptian armed forces. His appointment has been criticized on the grounds that it is “a miserable attempt by the military regime authorities to nationalize the media, unify its message, and block any opposing voices against the government”. In that sense, al-Assema represents a semi-official voice.