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Egyptian imam slammed for advocating prisoner 'sex slaves'

Abdullah Rushdy is a preacher on social media platforms [Twitter]

Date of publication: 13 September, 2019

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Abdullah Rushdy came under attack on Twitter over remarks he made advocating having sex with female prisoners.
An Egyptian imam in Cairo came under attack this week over comments he made advocating keeping prisoners as sex slaves.

Abdullah Rushdy, imam at the al-Sayeda Nafeesah mosque and a preacher on social media platforms, was asked on Twitter whether it was permissible to have sex with a captive.

"[The prisoner] also a human with needs that must be met," Rushdy answered in a tweet, adding "As long as she agrees to have relations with her master, and it is not forced upon her."

His response caused a backlash as many slammed him for advocating the rape of women, while speaking from a country where women already suffer from mass sexual harassment. 

"Women are held captive against their will and are sold as sex slaves against their will too. So how can you say it is permissible to sleep with them as long as they consent?" one Twitter user said. 

"Holding women as prisoners is wrong to begin with and not permissible in Islam. You must clarify that, rather than justify it," another Twitter user said.

"Sexual slavery is a war crime and a crime against humanity under the terms of the Geneva Convention. I urge everyone to report the tweets of Abdullah Rushdy," another user tweeted.

Rushdy's comments come at a time when hundreds of women continue to reel from the suffering of being held as captives by Islamic State (IS) militants, after the group captured parts of northern Iraq and eastern Syria in 2014.

IS kidnapped 7,000 Yazidi women and girls and held them as sex slaves during the campaign.

More than 3,000 Yazidi were murdered, mostly men and the elderly, in the days after IS took over areas around Sinjar, while children were forced into military conscription.

In Egypt, sexual assault against women remains prominent and is commonly referred to as Taharrush [meaning harassment in Arabic].

Some 60 percent of women said they had been victims of some form of sexual harassment during their lifetimes, according to a 2017 report from the UN Women and Promundo.

Three-quarters of men and 84 percent of women polled said that women who "dress provocatively deserve to be harassed".

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