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Official Tunisian paper slams leading Egyptian feminist as 'promoting' 'gayness'

Al-Fajr, Tunisia's ruling party's official paper, accused Nawal El Saadawi, Egypt's leading feminist, of 'promoting homosexuality and prostitution'
Al-Fajr, Tunisia's official government paper, accused Nawal El Saadawi, Egypt's leading feminist, of 'promoting homosexuality and prostitution'

Renowned Egyptian feminist, Nawal El Saadawi, was accused by the Tunisia’s main paper as a ‘promoter of prostitution and homosexuality’.

The smear campaign was launched last week in Al Fajr, after Saadawi visited Tunisia during the International Women’s day, where she was warmly received the country’s president, Moncef Marzouki, as well as several other ministers.

Upon her return to Egypt, Saadawi published an article praising the achievements of Tunisian women during the revolution and said she was impressed with Ennahda, the ruling Islamist party’s commitment to women’s equality in the drafting of its new constitution.

However, on Friday 15 March, Al-Fajr, the official paper of Ennahda, denigrated and castigated Saadawi as a woman that ‘promotes homosexuality’ as well as ‘prostitution’.

82 year old Saadawi is an Egyptian feminist writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist, who has written many books on the subject of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital mutilation.

Saadawi describes herself an atheist, and has been one of the inspirational voices to the Egyptian revolution, of which she took part in 2011 in the Tahrir Square protests.

In 2004 she was awarded the North-South Prize by the Council of Europe, to name one of many lifetime and literary achievements awards.

Reacting to the news, Fadi, the editor of GayDayMag, Tunisia’s online LGBT magazine, told Gay Star News: ‘This is just one more proof to showcase Ennahda party's hypocrisy.

‘On the one hand they fill our ears with all the nice words they know we want to hear about the democratic transition and the other hand here comes their official paper to reveal again their sick ideology.

‘Not long ago one of their senior figures Habib Ellouz referred to female mutilation as a plastic “surgery procedure”.

‘They claimed that's the opinion of one of their members and doesn't reflect the party.

‘Let's see if they will deny again what their paper published this week.

‘If anything is to be concluded, since Ennahda came to power, is that the level of dialogue in Tunisia regressed 2000 years backwards and now we hear more talk about polygamy, female mutilation and alcohol.

‘Is that really why the Arab spring came in first place? We're so indoctrinated by a sick ideology instead of being out their racing for economic growth’.

Tareq, a Tunisian blogger, told Gay Star News, that he thinks ‘this is a kind of retaliation towards the left wing Tunisian media which criticized and ridiculed visiting leading Salafists theologians from the Arab Gulf who advocated that women ‘must wear the hijab’, or saying that ‘SpongeBob is gay propaganda’ and so on.

‘They show they can do the same, despite Tunisia officially welcoming her'.

Olfa Youssef, a leading Tunisian feminist, who has previously said that homosexuality, is not a disease and not unislamic expressed her dismay at the smear campaign by Al Fajr.

She, however, noted that she has a different approach, being a Muslim as opposed to an atheist, and that she wouldn’t have accepted an invitation to meet with the leaders of Ennahda in the first place. 

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