Egyptian MP says women students must pass 'virginity tests'

Egyptian MP says women students must pass 'virginity tests'

3 min read
30 Sep, 2016
A controversial Egyptian MP has said that women must pass 'periodic virginity examinations' if they want to receive a university education.
Human Rights Watch has called an end to degrading "virginity testing" of women [Getty]

A controversial Egyptian MP has said that women must pass "periodic virginity examinations" if they want to receive a university education.

Elhamy Agina said that the students should prove they have not had sex if they want to stay in university.

"We have to conduct medical exams on every girl that enters university to prove that they are virgins," the MP for the Delta province of Daqahlia told local media.

"They should present official documentation that they are virgins when they apply so that we can stamp out the propagation of Urfi marriages in Egypt."

Urfi - or common-law marriages - are legitimate informal unions often used by young couples as a way of getting around religious prohibitions against premarital sex.

Agina said that if students "failed" the exam their parents would be notified.

"No one should be angry about this. If you're angry that means you're scared that your daughter is married behind your back," he said.

Agina has recently found gotten himself into hot water over comments that women should undergo female genital mutilation as a concession to male "sexual weakness".

     
     

Agina has also said women should should undergo female genital mutilation
to help curb male "sexual weakness" [Getty]

His latest comments have also been widely criticised by fellow lawmakers and religious figures, MP Amina Nasir said: "What I have to say to this man is enough with this crap."

"I wish he had a shred of decency or wisdom… and would stop waging war against the honour of Egyptian girls and women."

Islamic cleric Mazhar Shaheen wrote on Facebook that Agina should be forced to take a medical exam to ensure he was "mentally capable".

"Either this guy really wants to become famous or is suffering from sexual obsession," the preacher said.

Agina countered his detractors on Thursday during a phone in with a local satellite channel.

"If Egyptian don't like my suggestion, they should try to find other ways to curb the problems facing our society," he said.

In March 2011, during the popular uprising that ousted longtime President Hosni Mubarak, several detained women protesters were subjected to "virginity tests" by a military doctor.

An Egyptian court later ruled that conducting virginity tests on women in detention was "an illegal act and a violation of women's rights".

However, in March 2012, the only military doctor charged in the "virginity tests" trial was acquitted.

Human Rights Watch has called on governments to end the degrading, discriminatory and unscientific test of women and girls.

This week, Agina said that the hundreds of victims of the migrant shipwreck off the Mediterranean coast "deserved to die" and "do not deserve sympathy".