Draft law on public decency causes outrage in Egypt

Politicians argued whether the draft law clashed with the constitution. (Reuters)
Updated 20 November 2019

Draft law on public decency causes outrage in Egypt

CAIRO: A proposed Egyptian law concerning public decency has been fiercely criticized by some members of Parliament, including the speaker of the house.

According to Article 4 of the draft law, it would not be permitted to wear body-revealing clothing or clothes with pictures or symbols that violate public decency, including ripped jeans.

Parliament Speaker Aly Abdel-Aal slammed the draft, which was proposed by MP Ghada El-Agamy. “I am sure that those who read the draft law did not read it properly. We are in a country that accepts everyone. We should not interfere in personal affairs,” Abdel-Aal said.

“I stopped at the expression of public decency because this is an expression that can never be controlled since it covers behavior. It is a relative perspective, something that is acceptable to some people but unacceptable to others,” Abdel-Aal added.

MP Mohamed Abu Hamed said the draft law clashes with the constitution, and that mere talk about such issues would harm the tourism sector. Abu Hamed said the bill flies in the face of the constitution in terms of freedom of clothing and other forms of personal liberty.

El-Agamy said the MPs who expressed their opinion about the bill during the general session did not read it in the first place.

She said Abdel-Aal’s opinion matters, adding that every MP has the right to express his or her opinion regarding the draft. She alleged that much of what has been said about the law was not true.

El-Agamy told Arab News that her proposed draft law would be applied to public places under the joint supervision of the Interior Ministry and the concerned authorities in accordance with what would be stipulated in its regulations. 

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She added that violating the public decency code could encompass various forms, and that the authorities concerned will determine the penalty according to the type of violation committed, such as badmouthing people, or committing an act that would harm people in the area by frightening or endangering them.

Article 8 of the draft law stipulates that the penalty for violators is between 500-5,000 Egyptian pounds ($31-$311). The penalty doubles if the violation is repeated within a year.

The draft law opens by stating that public decency code “is a set of attitudes and ethics that reflect society’s values, principles and identity in accordance with the foundations and the elements provided for in the constitution.”


Successor to slain Iran general faces same fate if he kills Americans: US envoy

Updated 23 January 2020

Successor to slain Iran general faces same fate if he kills Americans: US envoy

  • Washington blamed Soleimani for masterminding attacks by Iran-aligned militias against US forces in the region
  • Ghaani promised to “continue in this luminous path” taken by Soleimani and said the goal was to drive US forces out of the region

DUBAI: The US special representative for Iran said the successor to Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike, would suffer the same fate if he followed a similar path of killing Americans, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.

Washington blamed Soleimani for masterminding attacks by Iran-aligned militias against US forces in the region. US President Donald Trump ordered the Jan. 3 drone strike in Iraq after a build up of tension over Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran responded to the killing of Soleimani, who was charged with expanding Tehran’s influence across the Middle East, by launching missile strikes on US targets in Iraq, although no US soldiers were killed.

After Soleimani’s death, Tehran swiftly appointed Esmail Ghaani as the new head of the Quds Force, an elite unit in the Revolutionary Guards that handles actions abroad. The new commander pledged to pursue Soleimani’s course.

“If (Esmail) Ghaani follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate,” Brian Hook told the Arabic-language daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

He said in the interview in Davos that US President Donald Trump had long made it clear “that any attack on Americans or American interests would be met with a decisive response.”

“This isn’t a new threat. The president has always said that he will always respond decisively to protect American interests,” Hook said. “I think the Iranian regime understands now that they cannot attack America and get away with it.”

After his appointment, Ghaani promised to “continue in this luminous path” taken by Soleimani and said the goal was to drive US forces out of the region, which has long been Iran’s stated policy.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have steadily increased since Trump withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2018 and imposed tough news sanctions that have hammered the Iranian economy.

This month’s military flare-up began in December when rockets fired at US bases in Iraq killed a US contractor. Washington blamed pro-Iran militia and launched air strikes that killed at least 25 fighters. After the militia surrounded the US embassy in Baghdad for two days, Trump ordered the drone strike on Soleimani.