Egypt Independent

NCW chairman demands legal action against Agena over virginity tests proposal



Maya Morsy, chairman of the National Council for Women, has called for legal action against MP Elhamy Agena after he suggested compulsory virginity tests on females seeking admission into university. In remarks last week, Agena said that such  measures would help to prevent temporary urfi
marriages taking place among teenagers.
 
Morsy has since rejected an apology from Agena, saying his suggestion as a disgrace to Egypt, and calling on the general prosecutor and parliament to take legal action.
 
She added in a statement that Agena has repeatedly made statements that disgraced Egypt in the international media.
 
Agena previously made controversial statements about female MPs clothing and female genital mutilation (FGM).
 
"Each time, he either apologizes or accuses media of misunderstanding him. This time [the NCW] filed a legal claim with the top prosecutor and submitted a memorandum against him to the speaker of parliament," said Morsy.
 
She stressed that Agena should be made an example of in order to discourage similar statements in future that violate women's rights.
 
Agina, and MP for Daqahlia, made the suggestions concerning virginity tests in an interview with Youm7 news website on Thursday. He said the measures would help curb the growth of urfi marriages, temporary arrangements that some Muslims consider legitimate but others condemn as illegal and immoral.
 
 
The MP is known for his controversial statements. In September, he said female genital mutilation (FGM) is justified by the prevalence of impotence among Egyptian men. He said that FGM reduces women's level of sexual desire, bringing it down to the same level as that of men. At that time, his remarks outraged both men and women.
 
Respondeing to Agena's call for virginity tests on university students, MP Saad al-Gammal said the comments were dishonorable, calling on him to apologize immediately.
 
MP Soliman Wahdan, meanwhile, apologized to all the Egyptian women for Agena’s “irresponsible” remarks against Egypt’s honorable women. He demanded that Agena retract his comments and apologize to society as a whole.
 
MP Jawaher al-Sherbiny called Agena's proposal an “insult.”
 
Other female MPs threatened to file a complaint with the speaker of parliament to refer Agena to the Ethics Committee. They also called for his membership of parliament to be suspended.
 
Amna Nossair called on the speaker to take deterrent action against Agena. “I hope there will be tough measures to ensure his remarks will not be repeated,” she said.
 
Meanwhile, Hoda Badran, the chairperson of the Alliance for Arab Women, said that her Alliance is mulling a lawsuit against Agina. She said he can't be allowed to continue making such statements, because some people might become convinced by them.
 
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm