#MosqueeMeToo, Muslim women denounce sexual assault during religious feasts 

Barbara Debout

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On the coattails of the feminist movement #MeToo, Muslim women begin to talk as well of sexual assault they suffer during Muslim feasts with the hashtag #MosqueMeToo. 

Since the « Weinstein case », a lot of women with a different background break the cycle of abuse they are experiencing. After the cinema world, politics and private sphere, here is the movement which affects the religion. This one started on the 6th of February thanks to the initiative took by Mona Eltahawy, a feminist author based in Cairo and New York. 

Again, the wind of denunciation began on Twitter. Mona Eltahawy started #MosqueMeToo and tweeted about her own experience on sexual assault, during the famous Muslim pilgrimage, the hajj. On the last 15th February, she wrote in the Washington Post: « In 1982, when I was 15, I was sexually assaulted twice while my family and I were performing the hajj. 

Her initiative justified by another message, posted on Facebook few days before, by a young Pakistanis, Sabina Khan, and delete since. She explains that a man was poking her butt « aggressively » during her pilgrimage. « I felt so violated. I felt unable to speak out. Stayed quiet because I knew no one would trust me, or nobody would take it seriously, except my mum » according to Buzzfeed News. 

The Kaaba (Arabic: الكعبة al-Kaʿbah), is a cube-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam - photo credit - Omar A (flickr)
The Kaaba (Arabic: الكعبة al-Kaʿbah), is a cube-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam – photo credit – Omar A (flickr)

Even if this hashtag has not spared the religious sphere which until now was, Mona Eltahawy not mistaken. She explains well that this movement is not against Islam, it’s the one against misogynist violence never mind the place. Thus, she suggests to the victims in the religious field to denounce sexual assault with the hashtag #ChurchToo. 

The hashtag #MosqueMeToo became viral, a lot of women started to share their experiences during the pilgrimage of the Mecca on Social Media. 

The BBC confirmed that in less than 24 hours, 2000 tweets were already shared with this new hashtag. Of course, that kind of operation have consequences, Mona Eltahawy received plenty of threats and offences. But, far from giving up she henceforth with a new hashtag: #IBeatMyAssaulter.

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Barbara Debout