#Trending: Egypt's 'first single mother' trolled on social media

#Trending: Egypt's 'first single mother' trolled on social media
Egyptians trolls 27-year-old Hadeer Mekawy after publicly sharing her story of having a baby from a secret customary marriage.
2 min read
14 Jan, 2017
Hadeer Mekawy took to social media to rally support [Facebook]
A young Egyptian journalist caused a stir on social media this week after she announced the birth of her child who was conceived during a secret customary marriage, known as urfi marriage.

Hadeer Mekawy, dubbed as Egypt's "first single mother", took to social media to rally support to gain custody of her son, Adam, who was born after her split from his father.

The 27-year-old said she was suing the man she claims is the father of her child. The Arabic hashtag #Support_Hadeer_Mekawy quickly gained traction on Twitter.

Many social media users rushed to label her as an "adulteress", calling her son an "illegitimate child".

Others refused to show Mekawy any support despite showing some lukewarm sympathy for the child.

"The baby is a victim. Of course he has the right to live a proper life but why are we making a hero out of Hadeer?" a Twitter user said.

Another user accused Mekawy of publicising her story to "boast about committing a sin". 

Some warned of a possible social crisis if more women followed in Mekawy's footsteps.

"It is important to make it easier for young people to get married so that cases of single mothers do not rise, like Hadeer's, and we suddenly find that we are dealing with an entire generation of father-less children," a Twitter user said

Other users however, defended Mekawy, applauding her courage to face Egypt's conservative society.

"I have never seen this much attack against harassers or rapists," one Facebook user said

Prominent Egyptian activist Wael Abbas hailed Mekawy for "fighting a battle that goes beyond her child's pedigree to one over civil liberates and way of living".

Urfi marriages are usually performed in secret through an oral or written contract, and without a religious official representative.

They are reported to be on the increase among young Egyptian couples who are unable to afford official marriages or seek to cement a personal relationship without parental recognition.

They remain highly controversial and are not recognised by the state.

Politicians and religious officials have recently called for campaigns to warn women of the dangers of such customary marriage.