It was a video Fathy posted on Facebook a few days before the arrest that got her in trouble. In the video, she was telling her own story of sexual harassment: how she was harrassed by the security personnel of her bank. She also criticised the Egyptian government for failing to protect women against sexual harassment. She also criticised more generally the crackdown on political opposition in Egypt and the socioeconomic conditions inthe country.
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With close links to the business elite, Mubarak’s sons symbolize their father’s corrupt regime in the eyes of the public. They were first arrested on several charges of corruption and illicit gain shortly after Mubarak’s overthrow in 2011. In May 2014, they were handed a three-year prison sentence for embezzling public funds worth EGP 125 million ($7 million) allocated to maintain presidential palaces. The two men were released in October 2015 after the court ruled that they had served the requisite time.
As such, it’s perhaps not surprising that the film was not necessarily greeted with open arms in Egypt. It didn’t help that, due to insurance issues and the difficulty of getting permits to shoot in Egypt, Neshat opted to shoot the film in Morocco instead, although she visited Egypt extensively to research Kulthum’s life for the film, and the movie’s lead, Yasmin Raeis, is a well-known Egyptian actress.
Salah shies away from politics and seems to want to avoid problems with the state. He donated 5 million Egyptian pounds ($285,000) to the public Tahya Masr (‘long live Egypt’) fund that is used for large ‘national’ government projects such as the Suez Canal extension and the new administrative capital. Even so, he has found himself an unwilling political pawn, either being used for political gain or smeared by pro-regime media.
Egypt’s strategy to combat these groups has primarily relied on a security crackdown – specifically on the Muslim Brotherhood – and large-scale military operations against IS in North Sinai. At the same time, the state has set about ‘renewing religious discourse’. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has repeatedly called for a more moderate version of Islam, although the efficacy of the approach to prevent and counter radicalization has been questioned.