Egypt university expels female student for 'hugging male' during wedding proposal

Egypt university expels female student for 'hugging male' during wedding proposal
Egypt's Al-Azhar university said it had expelled a female student after she appeared in a video hugging a male colleague, accusing her of undermining the school's reputation.

3 min read
13 January, 2019
The couple were seen hugging during what looked like a wedding proposal [File Photo: Getty]
A female student at Egypt's Al-Azhar university was expelled after she appeared in a video hugging a male colleague, the institution said on Sunday, accusing her of undermining the school's reputation.

The video, which went viral earlier this month, showed a young man carrying a bouquet of flowers kneeling before a young woman and then hugging her in what appeared to be a marriage proposal.

The video was apparently not filmed at Al-Azhar - a branch of Egypt's highest Sunni Muslim authority - but at another establishment, Mansoura University in the country's north.

Nevertheless the disciplinary council of the Al-Azhar University campus in Mansoura on Saturday "decided to expel the young girl definitively", university spokesman Ahmed Zarie told AFP.

He said the video had caused a "public outcry" and that the university's decision to expel her was because she had presented a "bad image" of Al-Azhar University, which strictly segregates the genders.

He said hugging between unmarried men and women violates "the values and principles of society".

The woman, however, can appeal the expulsion decision, Zarie said.

The young man who appeared in the video could also face sanctions, a spokesman for Mansoura University said, adding that the school's disciplinary council will meet on Monday to decide his "punishment".

Egypt, a predominantly Muslim country, is a largely conservative society. The expulsion comes amid a "morality" crackdown in Egypt, with several female singers and dancers recently being convicted over racy outfits and suggestive performances.

Last year, prosecutors detained a female singer for four days for "incitement to debauchery" after an online video clip which included sensual oriental dances and suggestive gestures went viral.

In December, an Egyptian court sentenced a woman to three years in prison after she appeared in a video "sexually harassing" a monkey, state daily Al-Ahram reported on Thursday.

The misdemeanour court in the northern city of Mansoura convicted the 25-year-old woman of "inciting debauchery, stirring up instincts and committing an obscene act in public".

"The defendant confessed to the prosecution that she committed the act. She said that she did not intend to carry out an indecent act and that she was tickling the monkey," the report said.

The woman was arrested two months ago after footage emerged of her laughing while touching the genitals of a monkey in a pet shop in the Nile Delta city, while making sexual innuendos as people around her chuckle.

The short video was widely circulated online and was covered in mainstream media.

And in 2017 another female pop singer was sentenced to two years in prison on similar charges, also over a video deemed provocative. Her sentence was reduced to a year on appeal.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab