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Egyptian Women

November 7, 2010 | By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Cairo ? Take a glimpse across Egypt's sexual landscape and you'll see the devil's ploys, unrequited passions, mundane marital rhythms, tempestuous affairs, the threat of God, the shame of society and, in one wrenching scene, a village girl circumcised by a man wielding a knife. Sex in most cultures is balanced between sanctity and sin, that precarious, often titillating, terrain veering from the virtue of the family to a bondage fetish captured on a cellphone and dispersed across the Internet.
June 2, 2004 | Elizabeth Mehren, Times Staff Writer
John pulled his cab over when he heard Dr. Nawal M. Nour on the radio. The Sudanese American physician was describing the clinic she runs for women who have undergone female circumcision -- women like his wife, Miriam -- and John wanted to learn all he could. "Other doctors, they didn't know our culture," said John, a Somali immigrant who did not want the family's full name used. "Sometimes we felt, my wife and I, like people were looking at us differently.
February 23, 2011 | By Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times
On the night Hosni Mubarak fell from power, the crowds that rejoiced in Cairo's central square were so dense, so roiling and rowdy that Mohamed Assyouti couldn't push his way through when his girlfriend, Mariam Nekiwi, was assaulted several yards away. "A group of men surrounded her from four directions and closed her off," he said. First someone grabbed her groin, she said. Other hands groped the rest of her body, pinching hard and yanking at her clothes. She was shoved one way and then the other.
September 26, 1993 | Sylvie Drake, Drake is The Times' Theater Critic Emeritus. She is a naturalized American citizen who was born and grew up in Alexandria
Epic novels that dip richly into autobiography and a panoramic sense of place, time and politics are hardly uncommon. But few modern novels follow the form any more and, Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz excepted, such massive undertakings have not emanated from the Middle East and especially not from Egypt.
A newly felt fear of God's wrath led Shireen Soleiman, a 30-year-old housewife from a well-to-do Cairo family, to cover her flowing, black curls under a Muslim veil. It had not been part of her attire, nor her upbringing, among Egypt's privileged. But after her mother-in-law died three years ago, she sought comfort in the cassette recordings of Omar Abdel-Kafi, who preaches that disobedient Muslims will be tortured in the grave. The veil, he says, helps make a woman a good Muslim.
June 23, 1994 | Ann Conway
Jehan Sadat brought her message of community service to 900 supporters of the Red Cross on Tuesday when she spoke at the organization's second annual Clara Barton Spectrum Awards luncheon. Taking her place beside the American and Red Cross flags--"they call it the Red Crescent in my country," she noted--the widow of slain Egyptian President Anwar Sadat told luncheon guests at the Hyatt Regency Irvine that her mission was to carry on her husband's work.
At 32, Waffaa Mosaad Gabr is a woman with a problem. She feels emotionally abandoned in her 14-year marriage and displaced in her household since her husband invited another woman to move in last June as his second wife. Her husband even persuaded the illiterate Gabr to sign a document saying that she consented to his new marriage, she says. Gabr asked for a divorce repeatedly during the past three years. But her 38-year-old husband, a farmer in the Nile Delta village of Segin al Kom, refused.
Some see Inas el-Degheidi as a feminist fighting through her films for the rights of Egyptian women. Others argue that Egypt's most famous female director gets attention the easy way--by filming cheap sex scenes. Islamic militants simply think El-Degheidi should be dead, police say. As one of the first, and the few, women to have invaded what is a male-dominated career, El-Degheidi is used to controversy. "I was the first to tackle subjects that were banned in the cinema, so they shock people.
September 24, 2009 | Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan
Conspiracy theories hummed through Egypt's media and political elite today as Cultural Minister Farouk Hosni returned home from Paris after facing accusations of anti-Semitism and losing a bitter fight to become the first Arab to lead the United Nations' cultural organization. The 71-year-old abstract painter and ally of President Hosni Mubarak had carried the hopes of an Arab world seeking cultural prominence and closer ties with the West. But Hosni's bid to become general director of the U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization unraveled due in part to comments he made in 2008 in which he told parliament he would burn any Jewish books in Egypt's Alexandria library.
They glared at each other across the table--the Egyptian on one side, the Israeli on the other, chins jutting defiantly and legs braced. But they were not negotiating peace or talking politics; they were waiting for the starter's signal. The referee forced their clenched fists, drenched in chalk and streaked with sweat, into position. The Egyptian jerked his hand aside in protest, wheeled away and paced the floor before returning to the table. The mood at the Cairo stadium intensified.
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