300 protesters sexually assault three women in Cairo’s Tahrir Square

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Three Egyptian women were stripped of their clothes and sexually assaulted by a mob of roughly 300 demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The women eventually found refuge among nearby pro-democracy protesters.

The Nov. 25 event matches similar attacks on American and French reporters, including CBS’ Lara Logan, and illustrates Islamist demands that women play a minimal role in public society.

The attack was reported in the country’s main newspaper, Al Ahram.

After being stripped, “the women ran to the nearby Mugamma administrative building in Tahrir Square… [the] assaulters followed them there, but the employees of the building closed the doors to block them out,” said another report in the English-language newspaper, The Egypt Independent.

“Dozens of other demonstrators, who had been holding a sit-in in the square, then beat the assaulters with sticks and rocks to disperse them, and took the women to their tents in the center of the square,” the report said.

The assault came amid a renewed wave of protests against a Nov. 22 declaration by Egypt’s elected Islamist president that dismissed the judiciary’s authority to curb his rule.

The declaration may be another step by Islamists to create a theocracy in the country of roughly 72 million people.

In an Islamic theocracy, sharia law creates an apartheid-like political system where Muslim men rule over Muslim women, Christians and other non-Muslims.

A disparate variety of non-Islamic free-market advocates, left-wingers and Christians have held street demonstrations against the Nov. 22 declaration by President Mohammed Morsi.

However, they’re disorganized, ideologically disparate and have gotten little or no support from foreign leaders, such as President Barack Obama.

Western progressives supported the broad protests in 2010 and 2011 against the country’s military strongman, but have remained mostly silent about the Islamists’ growing power.

In February 2011, CBS’ Logan was sexually assaulted by members of a mob in Tahrir Square who also chanted “Jew! Jew!” as she was stripped.

In October 2012, a reporter for France 24 news channel, Sonia Dridi, was groped by a mob.

In November 2011, French journalist Caroline Sinz was sexually assaulted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. “I was assaulted by a gang of boys and men who tore off my clothes,” she said afterwards.

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Neil Munro