Thursday, August 14, 2008

Egypt: Female director ordered flogged. 80 lashes.

For violating the dreaded HESBA.

One of the lawyers affiliated with the Egyptian National Democratic Party (NDP) who is a specialist in "Hesba" cases (which involve alleged insults to God, which are deemed harmful to Islamic society) against authors and artists has demanded the flogging of an Egyptian female movie director. He sent an official warning to the Sheikh of Azhar demanding the execution of his request, said ANHRI on 13 August 2008. The Hesba lawyer gave the Sheikh of Azhar eight days to execute the flogging of the prominent Egyptian female movie director, Enas El-Dighaidy, whom he said should receive eighty lashes because of a movie she directed, called "Diaries of a Teenager Girl", which he claims defames Egypt. It is worth mentioning that this same Hesba lawyer demanded, in one of his previous court cases, the punishment of an Egyptian actress because she refrained from wearing a veil.

Read more about Inas El-Dighaidy:

Inas El Degheidy is as unflinching as her camera work. The Egyptian director has been exploring women's rights and evoking Western-style bluntness in her films long before the first half-naked pop diva wriggled across the Arab consciousness.

She has been criticized as a sensationalist and praised as a fearless auteur, exposing the sins and lies gnawing beneath the facades. Her movies, such as "Teenager Diary," about a girl's sexual freedom, and "Cheap Flesh," about families prostituting their daughters to rich men in the Gulf, drew her threats of assassination from Islamic fundamentalists. El Degheidy and other Middle East artists, writers and actors recently spoke about the impact Western culture has had on their work.

"Western influence comes with pros and cons," El Degheidy said. "The Western media has brought freedom of thought and freedom of expression to the Muslim world. But the West has different perceptions of human relations that go against our traditions. The eastern society refuses to see sexual freedom as a right. So now we're seeing more Islamic fundamentalist TV shows trying to counter the West. But I'm not trying to imitate the West. I'm trying to change this closed society."

80 lashes. Anybody hearing anything out of Hollyweird about this? No, I didn't think so.