- A presenter in Egypt has been handed a sentence of three years in prison for saying women can raise children alone
- The talk show host appeared with a fake baby bump in July
- She raised the issue following the release of "I Buy a Man" film which shows a single woman seeking out a sperm donor
- A real Egyptian single mother received a barrage of abuse in January after sharing her story
An Egyptian talk show host has been sentenced to three years imprisonment after she promoted single motherhood.
A court found Duaa Sayed Salah guilty of “inciting infidelity and immorality” following her appearance on television with a fake baby bump in July, according to Al-Arabiya. The presenter was also told to pay 10,000 Egyptian pounds.
“You can chose to be a single mother before you get married,” she said during the introduction to an episode of her “Dodi Show” entitled “Buy a Man.”
She continued by suggesting that a man and woman could wed with the sole intention of having a baby, and then separate after the birth. Salah added that a single woman could also seek a sperm donor.
Her views were contentious in Egypt where due to prevailing social conservatism marriage is considered the only legitimate context for raising children, and divorced women face stigma.
One Egyptian woman @INFERNo_Gi tweeted at the time: “The trash Duaa Salah did an episode to spread adultery and depravity in society and then it emerges that she was acting.”
Commenting on Youtube, Mohamed Yousef said “you are trash, in fact trash is cleaner than you”, while Alaa Mhmad described her as “single dirtiness.”
Salah’s show was immediately taken off the air by al-Nahar channel.
Lawyer Ashraf Naji later took Salah to court accusing her of “incitement to immorality and committing dishonorable acts.”
Responding to the verdict on Tuesday, Ahmed Rashad commented on Youtube: “enjoy your three years in prison, you scum.”
Salah apparently chose the topic to tie in with the release of controversial film “I Buy a Man” (“Bashtari Ragel”). The rom-com told the story of an Egyptian woman in her late thirties looking for a sperm donor to help her become pregnant in exchange for cash.
A Facebook page offering a similar deal, which had gone viral in Egypt, turned out to be an advertising gimmick for the movie.
Meanwhile, the real case of a single Egyptian mother stirred controversy in January.
Hadir Makaqi wed under customary law, which is not a legally binding form of marriage, and was abandoned by her husband after becoming pregnant.
Customary marriage, “zowaaj ‘urfi” in Arabic, involves an oral or written contract agreed upon in secret, often without the attendance of a religious official. It is sometimes used as a means for young people to have a sexual relationship within a semi-legitimate context.
At the time, hashtags “I support Hadir” and “single mother” were launched on social media by sympathetic Egyptians. However, she also faced a barrage of online abuse.
Salah is not the only Egyptian to fall victim to her country’s morality laws in recent times. A crackdown over the last month has seen at least 65 LGBT Egyptians arrested for “debauchery.”
Writing in the New York Times, Mona Eltahawy described the arrests, condemned by rights groups, as a “morality crusade”. They are, she said, “a deliberate reminder that the Islamists do not hold the copyright on piety.”
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